Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Great News!!


Another yummy photo of Chad, thats not my news though!

My great news is that my boss at Happy Scrapper has offered me a job, up until now I did hours when and if she needed me and so I just worked for product but from the 2nd of January I'll be an official Happy Scrapper employee for 16 hours a week, I can't tell you how happy i am, I love me job so entirely so to actually get paid for something I love is just brilliant.

You know the best bit, previously Paul and I were written off by society, by our families and even by our own doctors and now we're going to go from no income to being a double income family and no longer will we have to scrabble about for money or worry how we're going to pay bills, I think we may even manage holidays!

Things have changed so entirely for this family dear reader and I want to say a big thanks for all of those of you who have helped me, supported me and had faith in me. you really helped turn my life around!
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

OOh err, he's gorgeous!


He's my little nephew and he came to visit yesterday, he's such a cutie and nearly 2 now, I can't beleive how big he is, I hadn't seen him since he was 4 months old so it was a lovely surprise when my Sister in law paid a surprise visit. they live in the Midlands and we don't often get a chance to catch up. I did try and take a kazillion photos but for the most part he really wasn't willing to play, he was far too interested in grabbing the cats, jumping around and generally being a little cutie.
He's coming back this afternoon so it's going to be cameras at the ready again!
Imagine my Sister in Laws surprise when I told her I was starting my own photography business, I've ran off a Christmas package for her and atleast thats one less relatives christmas present to worry about!
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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Perfect Pose.


Another class from the cyber crop, this time it was to scrap from a sketch created by Debbie70 and et voila here it is. i have to say that I had not got around to scrapping this photo even though an A4 version sits on my wall.

In the end this was the last page I achieved this weekend ( 4 including the mystery kit one) but I suppose thats not too bad considering that I've been having health problems all weekend.

Monday tommorrow and Pauls second week of work, he's working 6 days a week till Christmas in an effort to make it the best Christmas ever for the children, it's tough for us both after spending very minute of every day together for the last 4 years but we'll get there.
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Cyber Cropping fun and games.




So you know what they say? What a difference a day makes of course!!
I can't speak for my blood pressure but i'm certainly feeling more relaxed. I decided that the only thing to do was immerse myself in the Harry potter Cyber Crop on UKScrappers, these layouts are the results of a couple of classes, one by Shimelle at the top and then one by Lousette, I enjoyed the classes so much and as you can see produced layouts which I'm more than happy to have in my scrapbooks and I think I picked up a couple of new techniques along the way.
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm not Hiding!!!



Well maybe I am a little, I have had a severe dip in my mood of late and the depression is coming, thank goodness I already take anti-depressants or God help me. I've been trying to hold it together for a while now in the face of more and more letters from mother and now letters from granny. I haven't exactly been well due to my HRT not being strong enough, so off i went to the doctors with happiness and anticipation for it to be increased. That was the plan and then he took my blood pressure. Apparently it was dangerously high so he promptly tore up the prescription in front of my face and told me to not take anymore of the ones I have at home for fear i'll have a stroke or heart attack! I have to go back next Friday to have my blood pressure taken again and until then no HRT, to say that i'm feeling low is an understatement. Mother wrote to Iain again today and i had to ask him if he understood what emotional blackmail was before he read it. He did say when he finished that he thought she was mad, ah that must have been the part about not celebrating christmas this year due to what has happened, or one of the other many similar statements.

Dear reader life truly is getting me down today, pray that tommorrow it feels brighter.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New things to share...





So it's Design Team reveal day at Happy Scrapper and I'm pleased to share with you the things that i've been up to with this months kit, we were lucky enough to get a bumper kit to play with containing Cosmo Cricket Papers, Cosmo Cricket die cuts and a Cosmo cricket cigar box containing chipboard alphas and shapes, I had such fun creating these layouts and when I finished I emptied the cigar box and turned it into a handbag! Lots of fun! I had the Love notes collection and even though I was completely stumped it didn't take too long to get inspiration, I used a photo from our recent holiday to create "My new best friend" which tells the story of Loobys relationship with Tilly the dog and then for my next layout, I celebrate "Darlington" yes thats the name I call my hubby, I used to call him Darling but we like silly names in our house and I call him Darlington, what does he call me, well that would be telling ;)
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fancy a little time travel?


Ok so it's only day 2 of taking the children to school on the bus and already i'm thinking that Dr Who's time travelling tardis would come in very handy and I don't know whether it's just me or has it suddenly changed to winter just because I have to go out of the house every morning?

There's just something about a bus journey with 3 children which is particularly horrid and when they're my 3 children it's even worse! LOL

If I could borrow the Tardis I would be particularly greatful, so dear reader should you know where the Doctor is or atleast where he left the tardis could you let me know?! Oh and also be sure to ask him where he's stolen 2 hours of my day from, because I'm sure they were there last week.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kissy Faces!


I wasn't sure if I shared this photograph before, thought I would as I love it. I was busy looking through this years photographs, all 12 gb of them and wondering which ones to print for the yearly calendar. I'm still far from deciding as i got completely distracted and had to blog! LOL

So anyway, we're standing on the verge of a new horizon, our lives are about to change beyond all belief and as much as I'm excited I'm also terrified.

The background is that after the birth of our second child I became very ill indeed, in the end Paul had to give up work to look after me and the children, that was in 2003, shortly after Paul became ill and for the next couple of years we struggled to keep each other well and hold our family together as well as bringing up our now 3 children. This year we both turned a corner and now we're better and healthier than ever. Tommorrow Paul starts work for the post office and I start life as a SAHM, don't get me wrong, I also have a job working for Happy Scrapper and I'm also in the process of setting up my own photography and scrapbooking business so it's not like I don't have a lot to do. The thing is though I have to start taking the children to school tommorrow on the bus and I'm beyond terrified that something bad will happen. Even though i've beaten agorophobia I still have days where going out the house is tough and going on the bus is tougher as i have nightmares about being attacked on the bus. Tommorrow is particularly tough as Paul has to work from 9am to 5pm and I figure if I can just get though that I'll be fine as Pauls normal hours will be 8am - 12.45pm, not the longest of working days but hey he's a postman!!

I think this week will be toughest and then hopefully it will get easier and easier as time passes. Tommorrow I plan to go and do some christmas shopping with Looby after we've dropped Iain and abigail at school and hopefully keeping busy is the key. I'm going to miss my man so much, we're rarely apart and for me standing at the dawn of a new day is quite intimidating!

Wish me luck dear reader for I think I might just need it.
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas


Greeted with the site of an enormous reindeer at the local garden centre i'm starting to sense that Christmas may indeed be coming, sadly though Santa didn't arrive till tommorrow, perhaps there wasn't room in the taxi along with his 20ft friend!!
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Christmas Coffee Filter Paper book




It's week 2 of the Craft Kingdoms Christmas Projects, this week we're making a simple album which is made up of Coffee Filter papers, this really is simple and very effective, if you fancy making one you can find the instructions HERE
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Friday, November 17, 2006

The longest week!

It really does seem to have been the longest week imaginable and with all the stress thats going on hubby and I kicked our heels off and had a couple of glasses of wine last night, sadly though a combination of wine+stress lead to my worst migraine for ages and no shortage of painkillers and injections would shift the blinkin thing!! I finally managed to get up after 11am and i'm only grateful that Paul doesn't start work till Monday or I would have been in an even sorrier state!

Ah monday, i think a new dawn beckons for the Charlton family, our luck surely has to change soon. Talking of such things, we're still experiencing fierce issues with my mother and father and of course the rest of the family since they disowned us!! More letters, phone-calls and all kinds of palava which resulted in mother telling Iain that she didn't know whether she would get the children presents this year as she wouldn't have a clue what to get, well dear reader I'm pretty sure that you can imagine my ten year olds reaction to this, for all he has aspergers he also has a very wise head on his shoulders, he quickly managed to compile 3 lists and rang her yesterday to let her know what all three of them wanted and in addition he also said that he didn't know why she wouldn't just come and visit as no one would stop her. I'm so glad that I must be doing something right.

the weekend beckons with nothing on the cards really, the kids will go to Pauls dads tommorrow night and we'll relax and I'll probably scrap whilst paul tries to find a channel showing stargate and then the main event, the first 2 episodes of Lost series 3 on Sunday night, yes i'm addicted and No, I can't wait!

One more great note, finally got some christmas presents sorted out today, i now have scrapbooks for both girls, stickers, papers and all manner of things which will make them squeal with delight, I so love that my girls love to scrapbook, i think it's the greatest legacy i can pass on. when i was young until i left home I wasn't allowed to be creative and I only discovered how creative i was in my 20's really. I promise now to never stop my children from following their dreams and being whoever they want to be.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Reveiw me!

I've looked at various ways I can earn a few extra pennies from my blog and in the past tried Google ads, which threw up a whol 88cents and I've toyed with pay per post but never really found anything which was relevant to my blog, so with that in mind I've been lucky enough to stumble accross Reveiw Me a new site which promises to pay you for reveiwing things which are relevant to your blog. this seems a much better idea than Pay Per Post. They pay you once a month on the first of the month and all monies will pop themselves tidly into my paypal account.

I don't know if I stand to make any money at all from this venture but hey it's got be worth a try and it's also stands a chance of netting me slightly more than 88 cents, why for this post alone I have been valued at making a $20 payment which at the current rate of exchange is around a tenner, now really how bad can that be for 1 blog post! they want you to use atleast 200 words but once again I figure with my rambling this can't really be so hard.

The other thing they insist on is full disclosure, so you the blog reader know that I the blogger and gaining money from writing these reveiws, well dear reader I don't think you're going to mind that I'm trying to scrape some monies together in the interests of my family and I'm sure that the occasional reveiws of sites and products which are relevant to my blog anyways are not going to stick out like a sore thumb.

I'll keep you all up to date about how it's going and if i ever make my fortune and sail off to the bahamas i'll be sure to let you know also!!
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The best time of your Life!


I'm using the blog prompt from Jane on UKSscrappers this morning as I need to blog but things aren't going too well at the moment, we had another malicous letter from my mother yesterday followed by countless phonecalls where nothing got resolved and so we're still banished and we don't even know if they're going to be sending the children Christmas presents, this is obviously awful and especially as we have little to no money and what they buy usually makes sure that the children have a fabbo Christmas, I'm starting to dread the mere thought of my usually most favourite season.

Anyway, Jane's blog prompt was to reveal the best time of my life, that for me is simple, Meeting hubby has proven to give me the best times of my life. It's the first relationship I've ever had thats not based on abuse, he can still be a little self centred and controlling at times but hey we all have our faults, I can't list mine as there are far too many!!

Meeting paul has given me freedom from the past for the first time, without him I wouldn't be able to stand up to my parents and I wouldn't have been brave enough to seek help for my mental health and get some therapy. I can't say that it's all be sunshine and daffodils but in comparison to the 25 years previous to meeting him, it's been pretty damn good. My Hubby at his best can be the funniest, silliest loveliest man you could ever hope to meet, at his worst, well it's all about him!! LOL thing is though he's helped me stand firm against my mother without fear of reprisal, something I couldn't ever do before and for that I'll love him to eternity and beyond!
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Monday, November 13, 2006

The Arms of The Angel


So off we went up to the Angel of the North at lunchtime, mainly just to stretch the legs of my poor camera which seems to have been redundant for almost a week, thing is though the weather here isn't exactly prime photography weather, it's freezing cold, blowing a gale and pretty dark and dull. I did get this one shot which has then had a stormy orange filter added to it. Not the best photo in my repetoir but for now atleast my camera is speaking to me again!!
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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cat Nap


I managed to squeeze in just a little scrapping this afternoon, another layout which was created using the super ingredients of the monthly kit from , Happy Scrapper I know I work there so I could be called biased but i really do love this monthly kit, it just makes it so easy to scrap!! Anyway it's my little kitty Elphaba having one of her favourite naps!!
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Christmas Accordian Tag book



Fancy getting a start on your Christmas gifts early this year, well why not make one of these splendid Tag books, this is a really simple version and it's sooo easy to make, if you want to know how I did it you can find out HERE
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Friday, November 10, 2006

Clinging on to sanity for dear life.

I need to write this so I have a permanent record and to try and get my head straight for fear that if I don't I'll be in a bi-polar spiral quicker than you can say "grab some Lithium" I don't actually take Lithium by the way, I didn't want to when all the consequences and side-effects were explained to me. anyway thats by the by.

I took the vitriolic letter from my parents to my therapist yesterday, we spent an hour discussing it and reached the conclusion that my families love for me is completely conditional on me towing the family line, this of course is no surprise for my mum and dad but to say this for my granny is a shock, however it's also completely true. My therapist said that my family would probably step up pressure until we either broke all ties with them or we gave in, the second isn't really an option though because if I do it again, it's just going to go on and on and on, the way it has my entire life.

So Iain rang his grandma to ask her to sponsor him last night whereupon she asked him when he would get the money, he said he would collect it at the weekend when he went with the girls, at this point she gives the phone to dad who proceeds to tell Iain that they won't be seeing him again until they can see them seperately. So Paul who is steaming mad grabs the phone and asks them just what they're playing at, the upshot is unless we cave they want nothing more to do with us or their grandchildren. Paul tried to get a emergency type meeting set up where they can come accross here and see the children over the weekend but of course thats no good as Mum refuses to come to our house. you know, if it was my grandchildren, I would travel to the ends of the earth to see them even if it was only for 5 minutes. So in the end I grab the phone, tell my dad that they need to grow up, get some therapy and that I'm not ever letting them hurt our children or mess with their feelings again.

We sat the children down last night and explained as best we could what was going on, obviously Iain and Abigail were upset, Looby bless her hasn't a clue whats going on. Oh and of course granny won't have us at her house because we're so wicked so the children won't see her either.

I haven't cried about this though I've been near to tears ever since, the thing is that if I do start crying I just don't know if I would stop.

During my childhood and adulthood my parents have done some terrible and abusive things to me, things which have affected me through my whole life but I always say, you start messing with my children and thats another matter entirely.

I write this today with a heavy heart and I guess I start to mourn the loss of my family and face the facts before me. I thank God for the wonderful husband and children, for the glorious friendships which without my mothers interference I have been atlast able to make, it may take a while but we'll get there in the end.

Thanks for listening.
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stop Wait a minute please Mr Postman!!!


It's just been one of those days which has seemed twice as long as it actually has been, i started work this morning and did a couple of hours and then spent the afternoon in bed with a migraine which had woken me up at 5am and refused to budge, I managed to get up at 3pm and did a couple more hours work after tea but i'm shattered, migraines certainly won todays fight! Oh and the people at the Yellow pages helped me part with nearly £200 for an advert in their directory from next July, my only consolation is that i can pay by direct debit and the first payment isn't due until next August!! They say that it should get me on average around 4 jobs a week which is 4 more than I'm getting at the moment but to be honest this is the first steps I've taken towards any publicity other than the website. I'm having a small personal self esteem crisis at the moment and before the guy from yellow pages rang i was actually wondering if i should bother trying to launch my own business, I realise that all of this, the headache, the self esteem, the self disbelief has all been brought on by the vitriolic letter from my parents and i'm going to try and get over it, i have therapy tommorrow and i'm actually taking the letter with me as I really value the unbiased opinion. lets see what she has to say.

Anyway, not to dwell, Paul finally got the confirmation that he starts work as a postman on the 20th of December so i want to dedicate todays post to my man, Darlington (thats my pet name for him! LOL) you know i love you and I'm os proud of you, we've both been so focused lately and we're changing our lives together, you are truly an inspiration and together i think we show that love truly can conquer all.

Photo is just a snapshot really, it'a daddy and Abigail having a quiet happy moment in a little grotto we found on holiday.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Art From The Heart




We had such a lovely day yesterday. Looby was in a bright and cheery mood so we spent the morning baking and then in the afternoon I helped Looby as she stamped some Christmas cards with my new Making memories Christmas Foam stamps, I missed out on these last year so I'm chuffed to have gotten my hand on them this year. Anyway Looby put on one of her brothers old vests and had a fabulous painty time! I have to comment that these photos were taken early on in the painty session and that vest was NOT white like that by the time she had finished. I also had the most superbly creative day, I created 2 layouts and a project for the Happy Scrapper design team (can't wait till I can share those) and also a Christmas Accordian tag book which I'll reveal on Saturday, I'm teaching a Christmas project every week for the next four Saturdays on the Craft Kingdom and of course the great thing is when the four weeks are over you have 4 potential complete Christmas gifts.

Today I think we have a quieter day planned, but i can once again see myself being thrown into creative overdrive as yesterday I took delivery of quite the biggest lot of stash I've ever had and it felt all the better as I know I worked hard to get it.

Happy Tuesday!!
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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Guy Fawkes Night



Yes it's Guy Fawkes here in England and we've just come back from a community fireworks display, the children all loved it of course and I got a chance to play with my trusty Camera. Not sure if they're any good as I'm not really a night-time photographer so it was all just chance! This was my favourite one so i thought I would share. Also the other photograph is Abigail watching the fireworks, I love this, for a photograph taken at night with the flash I really don't think it's too bad.
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An Autumnal Walk




Yesterday was pretty awful, the day started badly when the Postman delivered a letter from my parents telling both hubby and I that we were possibly the worst people ever to walk the earth oh and we're also the worst parents in the universe, of course i'm paraphrasing but I can't actually bring myself to copy the whole side of A4 for all to see. this is not the first time it's happened, there have been several instances of mothers vitriolic letter writing, she once wrote a letter to Paul telling him to get away from me quickly or I would destroy his life, oh yes if you want an abusive letter (or text message even) then mother is the place to go to. The funny thing is that i could forgive something written in haste but no, this had been typed on the computer and then hand-signed. So in case you missed what we did that was so completely heinous, we asked them to have all three children in one sitting instead of the girls one day and Iain the next. This is mostly duie to Paul starting work at the post office and his job and football leaving less time to spend as a family. So now we're getting evil letters and Mum has made sure in her own evil dictator type way that the rest of the family disown us too. I'm having a hard time as you can imagine but hey ho atleast i have my therapist who reassures me that we are in the right and that my mother is an abusive and not very nice woman.

So anyway not wanting to dwell too much or I'm going to get upset, we thought we would get out of the house for an hour so we went up to Wallington Hall in Northumberland and had a lovely walk through the woods where I took the above photos, love the interesting Fungi ones, I have a lovel of odd Fungi, they're quite mad those ones don't you think!!

After walking I felt somewhat calmer though I managed to lose the plot over a steam cleaner when we came home and spent the afternoon in bed with a migraine. Last night the kids were away so Paul fed me and got me slightly squiffy. I do feel a bit better this morning and we're off to a fireworks display tonight to celebrate "Guy Falkes" or Bonfire night as we call it in this country.

Oh and I must add that I received my partner for the Christmas Grotto goodie swap, I'm so excited to have a partner in the US which makes the swap all the more exciting, anyway go and see her, her blog is called Mommy Need a Mai Tai ( and i think we can all identify with that one, for me it's a good old Gin&Tonic) and she has 2 twin girls who are nearly four, OMG I can't imagine Looby and abigail having been born at once, no wonder she needs that Mai Tai! I can't wait to get to know more about her, we've emailed already and she really is a lovely lady so why not pay her a vist and say hi!

Have a great lazy Sunday!
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Friday, November 03, 2006

No time to blog....


Once again, life and work has totally gotten in the way of blogging and to be honest I don't think I have anything vaguely enthralling today, neccessary perhaps, the promise of excitement to come perhaps but no pretty much just the usual lifey and worky stuff.

Paul passed his medical and has officially got the job as a Postman, yay for the postman always ringing twice eh?! ;)

So I shall leave you today with a photo of Britains newest Postman and possibly the Postman with the bluest eyes ever!!

Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Autumn


I did this layout this afternoon in an effort to calm myself down from all the stress which is affecting me badly at the moment, being banished by your family just because you stand up for yourself is never easy but it's been happening to me for 32 years every time i've tried to make my own decisions, I know of course now that it's all about power, abuse and brainwashing, doesn't make it easy though when it's your own mother who is at the head of it. Anyway not wanting to dwell too much, liking this layout of Lovely Looby having autumnal fun. Thank God for my husband and my wonderful childen and my gorgeous group of totally supportive friends, I give thanks every day for that.
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New Template!


I thought I'd let Looby jump for Joy about that one! You see I haven't been happy since I changed my template and i did try that google ad-words for a while but to be quite frank i didn't even make a full dollar in a month so I decided to dispense with all the fuss and pick a new template, I've quite had my eye on this one for months and months but really wasn't quite sure if it fitted my personality but now I'm thinking yes it's me, one of my favourite colours is brown and if I did have a doggy it would probably be a Bassett hound or maybe a datschhund (sp?) Nothing much of any note going on here today, i'm having a hard time with my family at the moment, mother has insisted that everyone disown me, my therapist is right up there behind me so I know that i'm not wrong, hard to fight back against an abusor when it's your mother but hey ho i'll get there in the end.
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More Autumnal Piccies




I'm so totally busy with work again that I thought I would share a few more photos of my autumn. It's way too chilly today, the temperatures have really plummeted and I know that it will soon be winter!
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