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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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!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

As mad as a box of Frogs!

For Mothers Day, Mark's Mum had asked if she could have a new set of towels for her bathroom, now that's a simple request isn;t it?  Yes you would think I could go to the shop and buy her lovely new fluffy towels, no not at all.  Marks Mum is mad on............... FROGS!

Now the last set I made for her had frogs embroided onto them, and I think they may be about 7 years old now! So new frog towels were on the Agenda.

I found a great appliqué pattern and delved into my fabric stash as I knew I would want them to be speckled frogs!
So take some towels.... and lets begin.
Now you can appliqué by cutting out your shapes and machine sewing, but for those that know me, I love embroidering so my appliqué will all be done in the hoop on my embroidery machine!

So hoop you first towel and then stitch out the first colour which will be the outline for your first fabric!

Now remove your hoop from the machine, but DO NOT un-hoop.  Using curved edged embroidery or appliqué scissors to cut as close to the sewing line as you can without cutting into the stitches.

It will now look like this:-
Now place back into your machine and carry on with the next colour of embroidery, this will now appliqué around the shape.

Carry on with your chosen design and follow the colour changes and instructions.

Next we have to embroider the shape for the next piece of fabric.
Remove your hoop as before but do not un hoop and trim to the sewing line.  Place back in machine to embroider the next colour.
Lets put a smile on this frogs face.....
And some eyes so he can see!
Hand towel and face cloth finished.

bath sheet
The finished gift!
Oh and she loved it!

You don't need to have a embroidery machine to appliqué - you can cut up your shapes and either hand stitch or use a machine to zig zag around the edges! Have Fun.

The Frog applique design was from five star fonts and can be found here! http://fivestarfonts.com/applique-fonts/frog-applique-monogram/prod_858.html

Monday, February 13, 2012

Magpie Monday - A What not!

My lovely neighbour Simon is a very talented carpenter, he and his wife has recently had what I would call a 'blip' and to face this blip they decided to get very busy, and Simon was instructed to make a new 'cupboard'.

Simon needed an additional special type of saw, which he loaned from my husband and when he brought it back, he and his wife asked if I would like the old cupboard for my craft room.  So I rushed over to see it, and five minutes later it was in my dining room and waiting to be painted white, once the weather improves.

It will then be in either my craft room or store room and will hold my many treasures.  Now to me, its not a cupboard so I have lovingly called it my what not!  Can't wait to paint it white and fill it with my lovely fabrics etc.

It is very sturdy and well made, and it cost me the loan of a saw! Sorry picture not great, and I have cropped it at the bottom, but you will get the idea!

Joining in with Magpie Monday with the lovely Liz at Me and My Shadow.
Me and My Shadow

Monday, February 6, 2012

Now I can never pass a great cookery book! - Magpie Monday

I ventured into town last week to do some chores and banking.  I had not been into town for about five weeks!  So I was very conscious it had to be a race around town even though it was Wednesday market day.  So I got all my lovely veg etc from the market and did my shopping and banking.  I went back to the car to put my heavy bags away and had about twenty minutes left on my parking ticket.   So I decided I would pop into the Oxfam bookshop.  I'm so very glad I did!

This is what I bought!

Ruth Watson - Something for the weekend with eight around the table!  Well I did not save it for the weekend, I made the pearl barley and pea risotto which was great.  Some of you may know Ruth Watson from the popular channel 4 TV programme the Hotel Inspector.   Its a great book and I quite admire her loathing of vegetarians (even though I have been one for over 35 years!), she has a certain style that is endearing.!  I have since found it cheaper on EBay, but Oxfam wins hands down.  RRP was £25 it cost me £3.49!

My second great buy was this: 

Which is the 50th Anniversary edition of Good Housekeeping the cooks companion.  Its great, very technical in places but easy to follow.  Once again its cheaper on Ebay, but I love the Oxfam bookshop and I even got to tick the gift aid box on both purchases. This was also £3.49.

So pop into your local Oxfam bookshop to either donate books, or buy them, its a win win situation!

Me and My Shadow

Saturday, February 4, 2012

1 2 3

Well this is my first attempt at a blog hop and also to take part in reasons to be cheerful.

Well here goes;-

Firstly I have re-connected with a great friend via Facebook and we are going to meet up  for a coffee very soon, just need to get our diaries together.  We met years ago via a networking group, as we changed our careers we lost contact.  I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am and I know it will be like we have never been apart.

2.  I joined the WI! which is it own is mammoth for me.  However the group I have joined is very empowering, a mixture of ages (more younger than me may I add!)

3. Tomorrow we have Nanny and Grandpa coming over for lunch - which will be great, I love that fact it will be very cold outside and we will be warm and comfy inside watching football on the TV (if it is not cancelled due to bad weather!) No roast dinner for us though, I'm cooking curry (at there request). Also making a brand new cake recipe.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Phew!!! What a Week!

This week has been..........................................  A M A Z I N G!

I have managed to take less than three painkillers so far with my torn tendon in my finger, but I can't wait to see the consultant next week to see what the outcome is going to be - I know it will be in its little cast for at least another four weeks!

Never Forget has been very very busy with not only the website but also lots of new projects on the business to business side and one very exciting enquiry from a previous winner on Dragon's Den! Can;t say to much about that at this stage, but it was lovely to have the opportunity to tender for this very large contract.

Thursday could not come quick enough for myself and my lovely neighbour Angie!  We drove off to our first WI meeting filled with trepidation and thinking have we done the right thing?  Have we chose the right meeting? And even, are we in the right place?  (which was quickly clarified by the lady we met at the gate)!

So we ventured in, were greeted and welcomed and given a host of handouts including the latest edition of The Bedford Clanger which is our very own what is on in Bedford FREE newspaper. The name Clanger to those not knowing what a clanger is it is a traditional pasty made in Bedford wikepedia's take on it is this:

The Bedfordshire Clanger is a dish from the county of Bedfordshire, in England. It is an elongated suet crust dumpling with a savoury filling at one end and a sweet filling at the other comprising a main course and dessert in one package.
The savoury end is traditionally meat with diced potatoes and vegetables (although a filling without meat is also possible), and the sweet end is usually jam, or sweetened apple or other fruit. Traditionally the top pasty is scored with a few lines to denote the sweet end.
Historically, the Bedfordshire Clanger was made by women for their husbands to take to their agricultural work as a midday meal. The dish is still available at various bakers and served at some hotels, restaurants and local places of interest.

I could see a few friends and we sat down with Christine who I worked with at Bedford College. We had a lovely talk by Ruth who told us all about making a 'Green Roof' for your garden shed or even a bird box!

At 'half-time' it was tea and cake, Yummy I had the lemon cake which was divine.  We then heard about all the new and exciting events coming up all of which are on the

When we came out, I said to Angie, well what did you think?  Jolly Good fun!!! Yes me too, loved it, we went off positively skipping to our car and talked about the evening all the way home!

So now its Friday, my busiest day of the week, new stock arriving today, have to get 20+ hoodies embroided for Oliver's school Skiing trip.  Tomorrow taking a good friend to visit her husband who is in hospital. Sunday we have Nanny and Grandpa coming over for lunch to watch Derby County on TV - but not a roast dinner in sight!  They want Curry! so curry and cakes to make on Saturday evening. Whatever you are doing this weekend have a great one!  Hope you all manage some good quality family time!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hawaii Five O - A time to reflect

Well this year, I will be hitting the big Hawai 50 - Yes I feel I must now 'grow up' and accept the fact that the scary number is upon me.

So should I hide away and go into a depression, No having none of that!  In true Ellie style I have compiled 50 things that I will try to fulfil this year.  I suppose, I'm not as daring as I was in my 'youth' my bungee jumping days, leaping out of planes are now beyond me, and with three children each day I get more and more aware of my own mortality.

So in my 50th year I would like to be more serene? (not  a chance) Calmer (I would not know calm if it came at me on a number 8 bus).  Actually, I just want to embrace this new decade and like twice before when I have had life changing  moments, I will use this in a positive way.

So my 50 challenges are written down and I am ticking them off as I go, I'm not sure if to achieve all fifty is realistic, but I will give it a bloody good go!

So the first one I have started is to join the WI - now before everyone thinks I have joined the Jam and Jerusalem brigade fear not (although I quite like making jam!), we have a few meetings near us, one I feel I am not yet 'old enough' to join and the other I feel I may be one of the older members (so that is where I am heading on Thursday with my lovely neighbour Angie).  We had discussed this at the end of last year, but with Christmas and everything else decided it would be a 2012 project.

So this is where I am heading:-

More details can be found on there Face book group
I think  it is such a cool logo!

I will post more about it, once I have been and met everyone, they meet monthly so I should be able to manage that. Of all the things on my list, this so far is the one I am most excited about!  After all, I love cake making, sewing, crafting so watch this space!

I have also booked myself on two photography courses, which I am really looking forward to. I will blog about this once I have been on them.

And the next thing off my list is to do more networking!  I will post about this after I have been to me first meeting!.

So bring it on, I'm not fifty for a few months yet, but I will embrace this new time and look forward to all that this year brings.