Welcome to my mutterings to life in general and all that Jazz!

So this is my attempt at the wonderful world of blogging!

It will contain my ramblings of life, hopes, dreams and a smattering of what makes me smile!

So grab a cupcake, (hopefully one with zillions of buttercream!) a cup of tea and sit back and take yourself out from this busy life for a few moments................................

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Say Cheese!

Not my normal type of blog, but then again, I'm not always normal!

I love social media, its one of those great things that helps us to keep in touch, I possibly value this even more since two of my children went off to University! It can cross miles, in an instant bring us that 'special moment'.  If I could change just ONE thing about it, I would make it compulsory for everyone that uses it to post at least one pic with themselves in it every month!  Why? This is why.,...

I have always loved photography, I have always taken photographs, I think it's the one important thing that not everyone values. Photography has the power to capture 'THAT' moment in time, that scene, that face, that beautiful object, place or thing of beauty.  It can evoke all kinds of emotions, happy, sad, uplifting - a photograph can say a million things.

What saddens me is that fact I know far too many people that just will not post pics of themselves! They are for lots of reasons, but these ones I hear far too often!  No, I have no make up on,  I'm too fat, I'm too thin, I look awful,

A photograph is a single unique statement, its will say whatever YOU want it to say about you. It can say, I am happy with who I am,  I'm a bit crazy, I love life and so much more.

So where are we going with this.  Well this is the point, I'm the youngest of FIVE children, my parents were  happily divorced.  My dad loved photography (possibly the one and only thing I had in common with him) I think the only pictures of me when I was small are of me as a four year old and I have TWO of them!!  Plus two other school pictures.

I sadly lost my Mum late last year, who had dementia, Luckily I have zillions of pictures with my Mum, days out, meals out, celebrations,  and this is what I want for my children, to have zillions of pictures to look back on.

Yesterday I was with my Bestie, those that know me know my favourite colour is GREEN, I drive Betsy my lime green car, my engagement ring is an emerald and I would say a third of my wardrobe is green.  Her youngest son had some amazing sun glasses, lime green, I loved them!  - not everyone shared this enthusiasm,  then suddenly we had a matching hat, and of course a photo or two was taken!  We laughed so much, it was hysterical.  I did not want the pics on the Social Media, but why, we laughed we shared a very funny moment, so here are the pics.  By the way I had to be 'taught' how to do that hand gesture!

Me and my Mum xx

Now for the serious bit, I would love you all to share this post, put up one of your 'moments' in time, and then go and donate £3 to the Alzheimers Society.  share your post with the #picsforalzheimers lets fill social media with picture  moments! If you are reading this please SHARE on Twitter and Facebook  -  I would love this to go viral and look forward to seeing your pics xx   #picsforalzheimers Thank You.

We are so lucky that we no longer have to take a picture head off to the chemist and wait a week to see what pictures we have taken,  Nothing can stop you, only YOU, get out that camera, phone or Ipad etc and get clicking.  Then get texting and donate to a fabulous charity. 

To donate : 

Text DEFEAT to
70111 to donate £3


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Diet or Lifestyle Change? That IS the Question

As healthy living goes, I consider myself to be relatively healthy.  I have been a vegetarian for over 39 years and eat lots and lots of fresh fruit and veg.  My love of cooking allows me to make most things from scratch like pasta etc.

I'm now in my fifties and  those thoughts of 'looking after yourself' enter my head now more than ever.  Like lots of other men and women, I have put on weight, 'baby weight', 'middle aged spread' call t what you will but the TRUE fact of the matter is that I found myself in the 'obese' category.

As Diets go, I think I can tick off lots of the boxes, Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Diet Chef, I seem to have tried them all.  Nothing ever stayed with me, yes I could get to goal weight, yes I could lose weight, but it would always come back.

Then one day on Facebook, this link popped up on my news feed 10 day Green Smoothie Cleanse I a sat in the background, read the posts and just was amazed by some of the testimonials and pictures.  Could this be for real?  The group at that point was just under 60,000 members, surely some of it must be true?

So after about 3 weeks I decided to order the book from AMAZON I mean upto 15lbs loss in 10 days - is that healthy? Was it possible?  So I got the book, read it and decided that a Monday would be a good place to start.  Now at this point, I am the only person on this group from 'across the pond'.  That so did not matter, I got lots and lots of words of encouragement, if I had a question it was answered and lots of tips and advice came back and forth.  A few things were harder to find but actually it was all rather easy.

The interesting bit for me was that as most of you know I'm 'busy' now my 'busy' and others 'busy' seem to be worlds apart, this is mainly based on my ability to survive on between 3-4 hours sleep for the last 40 odd years!  Yes I know 'Margaret Thatcher was like that !!!! (how many times I have heard that!)  The second bit was more often than not I would skip breakfast! The first part of this plan is based on 3 smoothies a day for 10 days.

At this point, I need to bring you back to the title - the 10 day GREEN smoothie plan so guess what? they are all green!  to me that is not an issue and actually they all but one tasted fine to me. ( I still did drink it though!)

My Nemesis was day 4 - I was irritated and it was a tough day - but reaching day FIVE the half way mark kept me going.  Day ten arrived and I decided to weight myself the next morning - I did feel better - what was my loss going to be?  Wowzers I had lost 12lbs!  This then spurred me on to start phase 2 - the modified plan, based on two smoothies and a healthy meal - and this could be any meal so you could switch it around.  I then went on to lose a further 10lbs.

The book makes everything easy, like most books it has a beginning, a middle and a end, the beginning is all about the plan, how to get yourself prepared even a shopping list!!! ( I like lists!)  the middle is what to expect and lots of questions answered that will just pop into your head ! The end is how to carry on with your new 'lifestyle' yes this is a lifestyle !!!

Now a bit of the gushy part, how many books have I bought, well the answer is too many, yes they are mostly cookery books, I blogged about them, posted pics on social media etc.  Well at under £10 this book is possibly my most thumbed, most read and inspirational, also the author JJ Smith does a huge amount of pay it forward and to find out all about that then please go take a look on the Facebook Page She and the rest of her 'family' will help and encourage and if you are lucky she will answer some of your posts.  Now to get that into perspective she is The New York Times No1 best seller author! Businesswoman and has a full time job as well as writing books, so I guess she knocks my 'busy' down a bit .

My Books!!!

The best bit, my weight loss is not yet that huge that everyone notices, but they do notice my hair, my skin, my nails and just how 'healthy' I look, I know this is not for everyone, but I do know it IS for me and the other 100,000 plus men and women that are taking part.

Disclaimer: All of this is my own story, its not endorsed in any way by the GSC Cleanse.  I just wanted to share on what it has done for me.  Oh and I'm no longer the only ONE from across the pond!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Plastic Fantastic! And all that Jazz!

I'm very  happy with the payment system used on our  website it is simple, safe and secure.   I did up until its demise also use Google Checkout, but alas that has gone to Checkout heaven.
So all credit cards can be used to pay via Paypal or indeed you can use your own Paypal Account to make your purchase.

However as I went to so few outside events, did I really need a card reader?  So here my research begun. How much did they charge? how much did they cost? Did they work and so on and so forth.  Would it work with my phone?

At events I talked to people who used them, good and bad, I talked to customers and more and more I was asked 'Can I pay by card?'  For every person I directed to the nearest cashpoint,  probably one in three would return to complete the purchase, so these 'lost opportunities'  were exactly that.

So I registered my interest with Paypal to get a Paypal Here card reader.  This was before they had been launched in the UK.  My reader arrived  late September and my first event was October.  Setting up the reader was easy, I also managed to list a few of my best selling items complete with pics! I paired it with my Ipad (at this point I had a android phone and decided that my Ipad was the best way to go).

It was amazing, a few days before the show I decided to post on Social Media and my website that we could take card payments over the phone.  Within two hours it had far exceeded my expectations. It was fantastic and I could send my customers a receipt by using either a mobile number or email!  Boy this was just too easy!!

So the day of the show arrived, we were busy, very busy, we put signs up to say we could take card payments, we even made little badges to wear.  Almost 50% of our sales over the three days paid by card.  We were astonished!  We even took the decision not to have a minimum payment (some other stall holders did)  Yes we took lots of small payments, but every small payment adds up!  The charges for payments taken are low and the fact the money is in your bank within hours is perfect!

It was worth noting that quite a few of my neighbours could not get a signal from their readers (not paypal here) so they were amazed we were able to take payments over all three days.

Since then, I have used it to take payments over the phone and also to take payments from abandoned baskets on the site, by sending a simple email to advise their payment did not complete. You can also send Invoices and set the payment to either be a Total or itemised items.

Having done more research since I have had our reader, I know of other stallholders that have 'rented' card readers.  This is 'dead' money but a good way to test the market, however my card reader was the best £99 I have ever spent on my business.

All views on this blog are my own, this post is not endorsed by anyone.  Links and pictures are those used from the Paypal Website.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life changing moments....

Yes it really is 2.42 am and once again, I cannot sleep.  I haven't posted for a while partly because its been very busy and I had a series of close family and friends berievments and partly because I am rubbish at blogging!

I was involved in a car crash four weeks ago, not our fault I may add, but none the less scary as two of my chidlren were in the car (which has now gone to car heaven as it was a right off!).  My insurance company have been brilliant and I an making a very slow recovery.   My children seemed to have bounced back quicker than me and as my son keeps reminding me that is because I am 'old'.

It sometimes takes these 'life changing' moments to bring us back to earth with a bump (no pun intended!).  I have been overwhelmed with the amount of help we have been offered, and my family, friends and neighbours  have been amazing.  Some days I just could not walk or stand up, but the house just carried on, yes probably the washing wasn't folded how I fold it, the table was cleaned how I cleaned it etc and so on...  but had I not have been unable to do these tasks myself then I think I would have continued being uber critical about the 'small things'  However in the whole scheme of things...... Does it matter? and my conclusion is no it doesn;t!

What matters is that we have a house to clean, we have kids that make a mes and enjoy their howm so that it needs to be cleaned and that between us we do actually clean it.  Now the  cleaning example thing is not that I am super houseproud its just an example of the little things that we take for granted.

I think my accident has made me more tollerant of others who live in the same space, my husband, the children and the dog,  its made me appreciate what I have and not take things for granted. 

So I guess my life changing moment, changed quite a lot for me,  it also once again reminded me of our own mortality. Which in turn makes me feel life is for the living and the giving, so as I continue to make steady progress, I will try and not waste the opportunities that come along, embrace the joys and spend much more quality time with my children and husband who on the bad days have sat on the edge of my bead, made me endless cups of tea and chatted and been there.  Not because I asked them to, just becuase they wanted to.

So please don;t wait for your life changing moment, we shouldn't need one, what we actually need to do is just open our eyes to see what we really have got !

Saturday, July 14, 2012

MK Handmade and Vintage Fair and a BARGAIN to upcycle!

I was lucky enought to be one of the Traders at the recent three day event in Milton Keynes as part of the Festival Fringe Street Bazaar. 

As part of the section from the fabulous MK Handmade and Vintage it is just great to share good quality time with fellow artists and artisans and with such a fantastic mix it is sometimes just a work of art walking around the stalls.  No two are ever the same and such thought and care goes into displaying such amazing talent and bargains.  The Vintage element is the best vintage fair I have ever been to or attended. 

The stallholders are friendly, knowledgeable and love the chance to chat with customers about what they have for sale, how it was made or in the case of the vintage finds details about the items.

My craft room from where I work is due to have a makeover so I was looking out for what I could find, and I did buy these amazing vintage peg dolls which will sit proudly on the shelf above the door. 

I love the Sailor dolls and of course the Norah Wellings vintage sailor man!

Norah Wellings dolls can often be identified by the cloth tags sewn into the clothing or on the bottom of a foot. Her dolls always have an appropriate number of fingers. She also made pajama cases, tea cosies and telephone covers.

Unlike many manufacturers, Victoria Toy Works survived the war years; partly thanks to a line of patriotic toys. The company managed to stay in production throughout the war.

What a sad end to such a great talent, Norah had been in business with her brother, who sadly died, so grief stricken, she did carry on making for a few months and then in 1959 Norah closed the factory after Leonard’s death. Although she had many offers from toy companies wanting to purchase her factory and designs, Norah refused them all, and burned not only her designs and the special tools used to execute them, but all unfinished inventory as well. Any finished dolls she donated to worthy local good causes.  Can you imagine starting a bonfire and burning a lifetimes work? Norah also sold her dolls to major cruise liners - my doll is from TSS Lady Killarney which was a 3,220 ton ship which offered cruises around the islands and sea lochs of western Scotland in the late 1940s and 1950s. Built in 1912, she belonged to Coast Lines Ltd. of Liverpool. I love my new little family of dolls and I know they will all live happily together in their new home.

I also bought myself the most amazing necklace which was hand spun on a spinning wheel by the talented monika zemojduk

The picture does not do it justice!  Monica will certainly be a talent to keep a close eye on!

And then my final BARGAIN find was a cot bumper - now I have no cot or need for a cot bumper, but as soon as I saw it, I knew what it would become - I just love upcyling!

So today with the help of these, and a few buttons and my sewing machine, I now have made the first thing for when my room is decorated:-

It will mean that I have my scissors to hand and the oil cloth table covering is great to be able to sweep threads away from my embrodery and sewing machine.  I have made a different smaller one before and it sits beneath my machine, but this one will not move as I have stitched it to the oil cloth!

So if you need inspiration,love to  find a bargain or just want to go window shopping around an amazing event, do not miss the next one!  Details can be found on the website and of course, we would love you to come and say Hello to us at our stand at  Never Forget!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Diets, Gym, Slimming Programmes and now BOOT CAMP!

As many of you know this year I have a milestone Birthday.  Which I am embracing and looking forward to this  new chapter of my life. Now I'm not quite ready to sign up to SAGA magazine (although some of their discounts may be worthwhile!).  I have in the past tried every diet gong an adapted them to my food intolerances, I have joined and left every type of slimming club (and lost weight at every one of them!) and been a member of most Bedford Gyms which turned out to be the most expensive showers I have ever taken! All of them were a 'trial' and none of them actually 'clicked' with me. Surely there has to be something else?

At this time in my life I would like to think that I have grown into my body and I know to much of it is racing South and also I am FAT - Yes there I have said it I am F A T , I'm not cuddly, curvy or slightly overweight, I am FAT.  My weight did not go on in one go, it went on gradually, it went on after both my second and third children, it went on by attending endless breakfast meetings for work, too much 'entertaining' and rather fabulously far too much Champagne which is my one weakness in life!

Compared to most, I actually do eat healthy - I have been a vegetarian for 37 years and yes much to my children's horror I do buy 'organic' !  So what are my downfalls well they are easy it comes down to just 4 things!!!

  1.   I don't exercise - walking Buster around the block is hardly breaking into a sweat is it?
  2.   I drink too much (yes chilled champagne or Prosecco or anything cold and bubbly is my weakness)!
  3.   I snack between meals.
  4.   I serve too big portions.

So my plan to counter re-act the above is as follows: (Doing these in reverse order!)

  1. Portion control will be on the Agenda, and I will go back to eating only when I an hungry and not because its 'there'!
  2. I will have a drink at the weekend if I feel like it but weekdays it will be slim line tonic in a champagne glass!
  3. Going to make fruit salad up and leave in the fridge, this will be my 'snack' and have a constantly full fruit bow! 
  4. Exercise - I have joined BOOT CAMP (please read below for my first experience)

My lovely neighbour Nikki attends a boot camp and she mentioned that I should go - well we kept in touch with Facebook and she told me that the starter session was this week !!!!!!!  EEEk I had committed and I was terrified!  

Now I had seen her posts about long runs, running around Bedford Park and just the name BOOT CAMP. 
So what I thought was I going to would be running around a park with a bunch of ladies in army gear!  What I actually got was a warm welcome in a school playground.  The only 'equipment' I needed was comfortable clothing, my trainers, a mat to work on and a bottle of water. 

The warm up was great and the exercises 'challenging' but doable and Camille who runs the camp firm but fair! She was attentive to the newbies and encouraged us to just do  'one' more when she could see us flagging, but also told us to do just what we could. My body was put into positions that it has never gone before, I attempted exercises that I have never even seen before. The class was a mixed class with all shapes sizes and ages all with one common goal to have fun and get fit.  It was like no other exercise regime I have ever taken part in. It was great to be outside - great to be encouraged by everyone and I loved the fact that each exercise was in small bursts with a even shorter catch up time before the next one, but above all it actually was FUN! The cool down was good and I could still stand up at the end of it!  I went there looking like a umpa lumpa from Charley and the Chocolate Factory and returned home with a face as purple as Violet - it can only get better ! 

The next morning I ached, was stiff but still felt exhilarated, will I join, will I go back, YES of course I will, the hardest part of it all was actually going to the first meeting but once I was there it was great.  For details on Five Star Fitness Camp take a look here for Facebook or here for the You Tube Video and the website!

So I will keep you posted, I am back again this evening for the second session.  Onwards and upwards.  if I can do it then anyone can do it - I actually think I am definitely the most unfit person there - and if I am honest this is my first real exercise in FOUR years !  so Camille, you have your work cut out, oh and for those that think they are too old..... I will be 50 this year, for those with health problems, I am severely asthmatic (not helped by my extra weight!) and for those that just make excuses, give it a go, the taster sessions are FREE and you can then make your mind up!  So I still may be fat at Fifty (as my birthday is very soon - but I will be FITTER and slimmer by the end of my 50th year ! I know with everyone's encouragement I will do this. xx  I will take before and after pictures on my journey! Oh and write the odd blog along the way!

Friday, April 27, 2012


When you are working from home, it can at times be quite isolating, your choice to work from home can be based on many things, but I think the most common one is working at home Mums (WAHM's) who are juggling family life, children, a home and a hobby or business. There is many a successful business that has been built on a kitchen table - I mean Cath Kidston started her empire by up-cycling furniture and selling at markets.

Well my business did start on the dining room table, then transpired onto being a market trader at Bedford Market which I loved!  I can;t say I was a huge fan of assembling frozen market bars on cold snowy mornings but all in all I had a great experience. I loved the people, my fellow market traders and of course had lots of banter with our Market Managers who new everything you would ever need to know!

So you can sell on Facebook, sell on the wonderful world of WWW. and of course sell to friends and family.  So what else?  Well in our double dip recession, we have never been more aware of up cycling, re-cycling and buying local.  I think two years ago, most of us would spend a tenner and not give it a second thought, now, we want to know exactly what we are getting for that £10.  Perhaps we would jump in the car at Bank Holidays and travel far away, but now the cost of fuel makes this a real luxury for most of us.

In Bedford, we are very lucky to have on our doorstep a thriving list of markets, Bedford is known as 'A Town of Markets' and we have markets for all occasions, gourmet markets for our foodies, the Charter market for fresh fruit and Veg  a handmade market to showcase our local artisans and all those other 'bargains' you find on a market.

We are also lucky enough to have a band of strong business people that shout loud and proud about all Bedford has to offer, our local publication The Clanger   which is an ideal showcase for exactly what is happening in our wonderful town.  We have the little gems of independent traders who are in and around Castle Road, known as The Castle Quarter.

So how else do you get out there and showcase your products, well you get to know who is arranging good quality events around you.  In Bedford we are lucky and we celebrate everything good about our town and showcase some amazing talent!

So for those in Bedford, if you are ready to take the plunge, or just need that helping hand and don;t want to spend out a huge amount but are ready to showcase what you can make and create here are two events that are definitely worth taking part in or coming to see! Oh and to exhibit at these as a stallholder will cost you that all important Tenner!  So go on take a deep breath and show Bedford exactly what you can do!

Monday 7th May Castle Quarter Festival 
Please visit the website or email castlequarter@yahoo.co.uk if you are interested in having a stall or getting involved.

Sunday 13th May - A NEW Indoor Local Farmers/Producers/Craft Market
Please email @castlequarter@yahoo.co.uk if you are interested in having a stall or getting involved.

Of course we want both of these events to be a huge success so go, BUY LOCAL, TRADE LOCAL AND SUPPORT LOCAL.

We will all give you a warm welcome and hope that everyone has a great family day out!