Friday, October 26, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday weeks 41 to 43

It’s (past) time again for me to tell you what’s been rocking my little world recently - another three weeks have rolled on by, but Virginia assures me that she doesn’t do the tutting thing, so hopefully I’m not in trouble :)

Is anyone else finding it harder to find those golden nuggets of gratitude as we settle into a chilly, wet Autumn?  I wouldn’t go as far as to say I have S.A.D. or anything major like that, but the darker evenings and cooler temperatures definitely have me feeling a little “meh” ….

I think it feels more frustrating because we didn’t even get much of a summer this year.

Not that the last three weeks have been all doom and gloom, just not a lot happening, especially during the week, it’s been very much a case of work, home, TV, bed.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Good TV, mind – I’m still watching an episode or two of Battlestar Galactica every night (am now about a third of the way into Season Three, and it is frakking amazing so far!), plus Connor and I have started watching Community, which is SO funny!!  And also Modern Family which is funny too.   Plus I enjoyed the pilot episode of Elementary.  Got to say, I love my new Tivo box!  We are discovering all sorts of fab telly we didn’t know about before.

So, yes, apart from the telly box, life is fairly dull during the week.  But the weekends have been great fun:

Some really good games of hockey to watch (we thrashed Guildford, woohoo!  Always a pleasure :D ).

Plus we have had a couple of great days out.....

First of all, on the day we were supposed to be in London at the Sketchbook Project, we went on a consolation prize (for me) trip – to the Nature In Art gallery near Gloucester.

I try and avoid dragging the family around too many galleries, but because they all knew I was sad about not being in London, they humoured me just this once :)  And actually I think they all really enjoyed it (or put on a very good act to that effect), so I needn’t have worried.

It’s a gorgeous little gallery, set in a stately-home type building with its own sculpture garden.  And, the clue’s in the name, all the art is nature-based.  Everything from traditional through to contemporary, all sorts of different media, really excellent.  They didn’t allow photos inside unfortunately, but we took lots of pics in the gardens.

It’s a little pricey (£15 for a family ticket) for the size of the place, you could be round there and out in an hour easily if you were in a rush, but we took our time and I think we got our money’s worth.   There was a nice little café and shop, too, and a playground outside for the kiddies.  Definitely recommended if you’re ever in the area.

And then a week later, it was Alton Towers baby!!! :D

We’ve been planning this trip off and on since July, it was supposed to be for Connor’s birthday, but one thing after another has got in the way and led it to be postponed a few times.  But in the end I think that worked out for the best, as the Halloween season is absolutely THE best time to go to a theme park.

It was a long old day, we left the house before 7am, and didn’t get home until past midnight – and the drive home was seriously yawn inducing – but it was so worth it, we had SUCH a fun time!  It’s 18 years since I was last at Alton Towers, and I’d forgotten just how fantastic it is.

Compared to ugly old Thorpe Park (great rides, but all set in concrete), it’s so landscaped and gorgeous.  There’s the lovely old ruined house in the middle.  And Nemesis’s waterfalls.  And all the trees in the gardens, which we flew over on the sky line, looked so stunning in their best Autumn colours.

And the rides were excellent.  Fairly long queues, but not too bad given it was a sunny Saturday and they had all the extra stuff laid on for Halloween which must have brought in extra crowds.  Nemesis is still as brilliant as I remembered.  And of the new rides, I particularly enjoyed Air and 13.  One ride we didn’t manage to fit in to our busy day was Oblivion – we’ll definitely have to go back some time to get that one ticked off the list, it looked awesome!

And, I’m relieved to say, there was nothing I couldn’t fit my ample frame into :)  I had been panicking a bit after reading some accounts online from size 18 ladies who had been unable to fit on the rides after queuing up for ages, and had been sent on the “walk of shame”.  As, let’s be honest here, I’m bigger than a size 18!  But I had absolutely no problems on any of the rides.  So yay for not being too fat for rollercoasters!!! :D

I’ve noticed that my whole mood has improved dramatically since the Alton Towers day, sometimes you need a day of pure adrenaline to shake off the cobwebs, I think.  Maybe they should prescribe theme park days out on the NHS :)

Other high points

Holding my breath all day yesterday waiting for news, and being rewarded by photos of a beautiful baby boy popping up on Facebook just after 10pm - the Wednesday Whine group's first baby :) :) :)

Hearing from an online friend that she is visiting England early next month and so we finally get to meet in real actual life - yay :D

Giving in to the craze of the moment and buying myself a onesie from Primark – it’s so cozy and lovely I might just live in it forever!  

(that's not me in the photo :)  I found that pic online..... but it's the same onesie ..... well, the same design, I didn't steal a strange man's onesie ..... I like the hinges on his door though)

The fine moral support of my Wednesday Whine cheerleaders (with or without star jumps) when I had to go and get a tooth out and was being a proper baby about it

Hearing from both my grown up prodigal sons that life is great for them right now - the best news a mum can get

Getting nice and busy again at work – it makes the day go quicker

Everyone getting their Rock Resurrected circle journals home – even Clare!  And I honestly thought that hers (which had been AWOL since February) was a goner forever.   So that maintains my unbroken record for never having lost any journals on my watch in 7 years of CJ hosting.  Go me! :D

I got to spend some time at Jay’s house for the first time in yonks – I love it there – it’s the only place I can totally relax without thinking “I should be doing housework” or “I should be at my art table” – we just snuggled up and watched a Salvage Hunters marathon for hours, 100% guilt free, fab

My Sketchbook Project book got a couple more views while it was in London – that’s 7 strangers who have checked it out so far, I wonder if they liked it? - and I spotted it on the shelves in a photo on someone’s blog which was exciting (I’m still really upset that I couldn’t make it there to see my book in person, thanks to them cancelling at the last minute the only day I could go, boo, but this was the next best thing)

See that book on the second shelf up with the wide, shocking pink spine?  That's mine 

Watching Alien again for the first time in years – can you believe it’s 33 years old???? And it still looks amazing!

Hearing that a good friend’s hubby who was made redundant earlier this year has landed himself a great job, and that they are off to sunny Barcelona, giving us all the more visit to organise a trip out there next summer (Jay’s bro and sister in law live there too, so we can do double visiting duties, can’t wait!)

Carmen, despite being very heavily pregnant (baby arrived as I was typing this post up last night! welcome to the world little man :)  ), launching her much loved annual Secret Santa.  I’ve already got the name of my giftee and I’m excited to go ahead and get shopping!

Finishing off my latest ‘turn’ in my pairs journal, and making some good progress on getting a new circle journal ready, I’d had a bit of a mojo-less few weeks and it feels good to get back to sploshing paint and ink about

My new t-shirt arrived from the states, I love it so much! Can’t wait to wear it.  It’s Sheldon and Evil Wil Wheaton from the Bing Bang Theory as Dr Horrible and Captain Hammer.  Geek much?? :)

Connor having lots of fun at holiday club this week doing halloween activities – it soothes the working mum guilt when I know he is enjoying himself  

Look, mummy, I'm a mummy!
That’s all from me this time around – time to link up at Virginia’s blog, the spiritual home of RYWF …. please do join us over there if you feel so inclined, this process of sitting down and counting your blessings is great therapy – I put it right up there with watching your ice hockey team beating Guildford while doing the loop on Nemesis :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Rock CJ came home - yay!

A long, long time ago, I sent a little box of blank 'record covers' out into the world, and now they've come home - thank you so much to everyone who was a part of this!

The brief for this particular circle journal was for each participant to choose a rock album that they rated in terms of the music, but weren't so keen on the cover art - and to design a new cover for it.

So, without further ado, here are all the entries (with their originals underneath):

One thing I have noticed is that pretty much all of us took a fairly literal approach, where the originals were more abstract.  Well apart from Sian, who went from a VERY literal original and took us, thankfully, a step away from squishy spaghetti :)

I love all the re-imagined covers, now we just have to persuade the record companies to buy the artwork from us and repackage those albums :D

Before I go, I have a favour to ask...... unfortunately a couple of people had to drop out of this CJ as it did its rounds, so I still have two blank records left over:

I would REALLY like to see them get used so that I can add a couple more masterpieces to the box.

So if any of you out there reading this have thought - oh that looks like a fun theme - I'd like to have a go at that - then please let me know by email or in the comments below, I'd really appreciate it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oh dear, she looks a little sad

....maybe it's because her eyes are wonky, poor dear

I've been working on this painting of a melancholy, wonky-eyed, fat-nosed lady off and on for a few days in my pair journal, and I think she's done now.....

Totally influenced by (and nowhere near up to the standard of!) the wonderful work of Marion Bolognesi

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Not an easy page to make.....

for Kimmy Sonksen's memory book

She will be hugely missed :(

Friday, October 05, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday weeks 37 to 40

I think I just have to admit to myself that regular blogging simply isn’t something I can stick to – I started this RYWF thing posting religiously every week, then it slipped to once a fortnight, then once every three weeks, and now I have a whole month to catch up!

I can hear Virginia tutting from here, and she is 200 miles away! :)

It hasn’t been a very busy month though, and the positives have been a little thinner on the ground than usual (I spent at least half of the month knocked for six by a very nasty toothache) so this shouldn’t take too long….

This month’s highlights:

Met my friend Pam for lunch one day as she was temporarily working in the same town as my office, it was lovely to see her and we felt like proper “ladies who lunch” :)

Enjoyed watching the Paralympics on TV, even more exciting than the main games!

Did a fun Wherigo geocache (a special type of cache that is more like an interactive game, played outdoors – this one was all about Orpheus and Eurydice and their adventures in the Underworld) near Hungerford around a set of amazing but not very well publicised Roman ruins and a beautiful mosaic.  Geocaching is the best hobby for helping you to discover wonderful places in your neighbourhood that you might not have heard about otherwise….

Went on a training course for work – not desperately exciting but it was lovely to have two days out of the office, plus the food was nice, and the training centre was literally next door to the Harry Potter studios tour so I went and had a nose around there during my break :)

My eldest left home – not in itself a happy moment (I cried a lot!) but I am pleased for him that he is starting a new phase of his life with his lovely girlfriend in Cornwall, and at least he has left his cat behind to keep me company!

A day spent re-purposing Ethan’s old room into a “tweens’ lounge” for Connor and Reece, so they have somewhere to watch TV and play x-box away from the grown-ups – I don’t have any before pictures (imagine lots of smell and mess!) but here’s how it looks now.  The boys are chuffed to bits with their new space.

I painted a picture that I like enough to frame – for the first time ever!  See last post for details.  Plus I found a nice wooden frame that fitted it perfectly for only £5.99 at the Range, bargain!  She’s now on my bedroom wall.

Finished watching Dollhouse, started watching Battlestar Galactica (my middle son has been mercilessly nagging me to watch BSG for years, I have been resisting hard as it all looked a bit too space opera for me …… but I’m now 1 and a bit seasons in and I have to admit he was right, it’s SO good!!)

We had a positive company meeting at work, seems we are actually making some money this year – makes a nice change after two very difficult years with numerous redundancies – it’s nice to be reassured.  Plus we all got free pizza.

I finally stopped being a wuss and went to the dentist and he sorted out my tooth pain with a course of anti-biotics and some nice strong painkillers - praise be to modern medicine!!

The mystery swap over at Collabor-ART went down well, and I scored a double whammy by 1) receiving an awesome set of gifts myself and 2) making my swappee happy

You can see the details of what I was lucky enough to receive here

And here's what I made to send my recipient:

Plus I sent her various other goodies detailed here

Download Festival announced their 2013 headliners, Rammstein, Iron Maiden and – wooohooooo – Slipknot!!! Yay!!!  I’m not yet sure whether we’ll go for the whole weekend next year, but we’ll be there on Slipknot day, no question :)

I phoned up Virgin Media to cancel Sky Movies, as Ethan was the only person who watched the movies much, only to find out that I can get one of those fancy new Tivo boxes, triple my broadband speed, AND save £42 a month from my bill – win win!  They are coming later on today to fit the new kit :)

My local ice hockey team won their first game of the season last weekend – just!  But it still counts :) Glad we have managed to get a win under our belt.  More please, boys!

• My annual Pearl Jam fan club magazine and free 7" single arrived in the post all the way from (probably not) sunny Seattle - always a nice surprise seeing as there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when it arrives

My middle son turned 21 – and we went over to Bristol last Sunday to see him, take pressies, and help him celebrate.  We had a lovely Chinese meal and then went for a nice long graffiti-spotting walk around Stokes Croft to work off some of those calories.  The weather was good to us and it was a very enjoyable day all round.

he's looking more like Shaggy from Scooby Doo every time I see him :)

Connor went on a residential activity holiday with his school – and despite me fretting like a crazy person and missing him like mad all week, he had a brilliant time :)  He wishes he had another week there.  I on the other hand am overjoyed he is home.

Here was his favourite bit, the treetop trail:

• Various amusing photo opportunities have put a smile on my face recently just when I've needed a boost:

Amusingly named sweeties brought back from France by my workmate - head cut off to protect the innocent :)

And the parking spot of the beast - ha ha :)  \m/

• and last, but not least, a gorgeous double rainbow spotted on my drive home yesterday, the photo really doesn't do it justice, it was lovely, the second rainbow was much clearer than it looks here, and the main one was SO bright and colourful:

That's all from me this time around, told you it would be a short one

I just need to go and link up at Virginia's blog, and then later, when the Virgin man has switched my internet back on, I'll do some blog hopping and see what everyone else has been up to....