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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Marvellous Minibook


Ever wondered what to do with your leftover larger scraps of cardstock, well this is one simple way of making a fabulous mini scrapbook which will sit happily on your coffee table.

I had some leftover photos from last year which either weren't suitable for layouts or larger versions were used, I really didn't want to dispose of them though or just leave the photos in a plastic envelope, then I started looking at my leftover cardstock and I came up with this fabulous flap book, basically the pages are all 4 inches in diameter which means you can use up all those 6x4 photos and the scrapbook itself in this case is 9 pages in thickness, the bottom sheet is 12 inches in length and then with each page further up the pile the pages lose half an inch, it makes a lovely minibook and I feel a lot better knowing that I saved my photos from a life in the drawer. Just because I'm a scrapbooker doesn't mean that I'm Twee!!!!!!
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Monday, May 28, 2007

Creating is good....


I seem to have been very creative this weekend and so I'm happy to share both this layout and also the minibook I made. Lets hope I can keep this up all half term and I might get through that pile of photos I have been amassing of late!













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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Getting in the way....


Yes life certainly is doingt its level best to come between me and a little computer/blogging time, I uploaded to my photoblog for the first time in a week today!

This photo of Abigail was from our Princess Portraits session and I've only just gotten round to editing it now. Mind you just in case any future clients are looking in, I'm still speeding through those ones, I did a turnaround of less than 24 hours last week for the school photographs, yes you know the ones, I would love to show you some of them but hey ho thats the way life goes when you're photographing other peoples children.

Paul is doing immensely well with the gardening and it looks like that 5 year plan to buy our first house may just come to fruition, how cool would that be, especially when you think we pay £65 in rent to the council every single week and see no return.

Anyway it's a bank holiday weekend and the children are off to stay with grandad Norman at around 2pm this afternoon, what will hubby and I do with ourselves, well we did try and book some cinema tickets but to be honest we couldn't agree on a movie at all so it looks like we'll have to revert to plan B, sadly plan B doesn't actually exist yet!!

Next week is crazy busy once again so if you don't hear from me for a while don't think the aliens have gotten me again (did I tell you about the time when they did???) I'm just crazily trying to co-ordinate the family, the businesses and occasional bouts of sleeping!
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mid week catch-up

Blimey, another week is flying over quicker than the speed of light and things really seem to be supersonic in the Charlton household.

Pauls gardening business is going really well and hopefully he'll be able to give up the hum-drum of Royal Mail before the end of the summer.

My business is still filling me with joy every day and I'm getting the chance to do things I have only dreamed of in the past.

Today I spent the afternoon in School photographing all the action in reception as they indulged in Creativity Fortnight, I then sprinted home, converted all the files and turned them into a 2 minute video cd which will be shown on a large white board at the closing exhibition.

I had to test the VCD and I have to say that it's the largest I've seen my photos, I've never tried it on the large TV but Abigail and Looby both wanted to see the slideshow and you know what I am in awe, I really felt proud of myself and the talent which I am lucky enough to possess.

It's just a shame I can't share it with you all because those children are all just super, I really had a ball and I can't wait for the week after half term to go into some of the older childrens classrooms and do the same kind of thing again.
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Holy Maloley!


So yesterday we went off to Lightwater Valley Theme Park, it just so happened that they had a special discount weekend on so we all got in just about half price.

Anyway why am I telling you this? Well you see those little red arrows on that there photograph? Well those arrows are pointing at Mr Studley Rogers himself (thats my hubbys cybername for anyone who doesn't know!) and my darling little boy Iain, yes I know he's 10 already but Oi, Looby and Abigail were nearly crying and had to cover their eyes because they were so scared they were going to fall out, they were scared? I can't even imagine how Iain and Studley got through it all, especially Iain though, this is a child who has to have a lie down when he loses a tooth as it's so traumatic for him, this is a boy who cried for an entire evening because he forgot to save his pokemon game and had to go back to the beginning, up until now he has proudly worn his badge of Wuss along with the queen of the wusses, yes that would be me, well I'm still a Wuss but Iain has firmly had his club badge revoked.

I guess this means he'll be wanting to leave home next, Ho hum.....
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Friday, May 18, 2007

Princess At Heart


Once I saw the results of the princess shoot yesterday I couldn't wait to get the photos scrapped and I had to start with this one, I've tried to maintain a whimsical feel to the whole layout and hopefully thats what I have managed to achieve!!
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

So Exciting


Oh My goodness I'm so excited, I recently came up with a new concept for my website and my photography, something which would make me stand out from the crowd, something I could offer which others weren't. Well today I am pleased to announce that Mandy Charlton Designs is now the proud home of the Princess portrait, click here to be transported to the site and veiw some of the gorgeous test shots I took with the girls.

Fancy a princess portrait for your little girl? Well you can contact me through the website and book yourself an occasion you and your little princess won't ever forget.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Not doing very well....

At this blogging thing of late am I?

This is though we're just so busy with work and day to day life that there doesn't seem much time left for other stuff and I'm overwhelmed by just how much time I'm spending on my forum of late, there's been so many new members including one famous one I spotted yesterday Brenda Pinnick, now that has to be a scoop, for anyone who doesn't know Brenda Pinnick Designs was the manufacturer of the last QVC TSV and very much what brought us the good luck of Having Nigel Merry of Crabapple crafts join us.

Anyway if you want to be a member of a forum which is large enough to have a buzz about it but still small enough to make you feel like you're part of the family check out Craft.

Paul has an appointment tonight for his first Gardening Job as Meandering Gardens, this is so exciting and I am so proud of him, looks like all that leaflet delivery he and the children have been doing nightly is staring to pay off.

Hopefully it won't be too far into the future before we can both think of working soley for ourselves instead of for other people. I'm already in the position of course and loving it, I have a brand new concept that I'm bringing to Mandy Charlton Designs, I don't want to give too much away but it's to do with little Princesses and should be live on the website by the end of the week so do look out for that.

Iain has SATS this week and despite feeling very anxious and stressed at the beginning of the week he says he's not finding them so bad as he thought he would, still he says he can't wait for it to be Saturday and them all to be over.

Much excitement awaits for the next couple of weeks as the school has it's annual Creativity Fortnight. This year it's thrilling for me as I'm being quite heavily involved, I'm going into do a couple of class talks about photography, 1 with Iains class and then at the end of the fortnight I'll be taking Victorian Sepia portraits to interact with their Blaydon Races theme, this is so exciting because I get to use my talents to help raise money for the school, School is planning on selling copies of the prints to any families who wish to purchase them, so exciting that I get to do something so useful and hopefully we'll raise loads of money.
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil


I think they look like the three wise monkeys don't you?!

I had a bad experience with an internet retailer today, I don't want to bore you with all the grisly details but basically I had referred to them as small and given them a slightly wrong name (absolute mistake on my behalf) I was told in no uncertain terms by them today that they wanted the post from last year removing, well I'm not one to go removing my own blog posts, it's all my own personal opinions anyway and no one is going to silence me, my mother tried that and look how that ended!!

Suffice to say that I edited out the word small and changed the name, can't tell you whether I got it right even now as I don't shop there, won't be shopping there and shan't be recommending that anyone I know shops there. I think when you run any business you have to remain polite at all times, in this day and age customer service is 97% of any business.

At the end of the day I don't suppose anyone cared if I got the size of the shop wrong but with the happenings today it's certainly persuaded me where I should spend my valuable funds.

Anyway enough of the disappointingly negative, I've had a fabulous weekend full of fun and games with some old friends and quite a few new ones. I spent last night in the company of friends in the online sense at a Eurovision party in our Forums chatbox and oh how we laughed, sadly with the amount of alcohol hubbykins and I consumed we're a little hungover today but it was well worth it!

We've had over 200 new members to Craft last week and I just adore meeting all the new people, it really is hard work and effort paid off though as I was remarking to someone last week it makes up for the year of endless posting when we were craft kingdom and had 4 members, a cat and a resident dragon posting regularly!!

Of course many thanks for the incredible buzz going on at the moment go to my friend Helen and also a very special member (the lovely Nige) who's Wife only happens to be Rosemary Merry, QVC's resident Scrapbooking Expert.

So go on, have I persuaded you to come and join us yet, as well as all the chatter we have a competition running until the end of the month to win a set of Heidi Swapp foam alphabet stamps, you can check it out HERE.
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Friday, May 11, 2007

Lovely Week!


It really has been lovely this week, I feel like I'm flying high on a cloud of love at the moment, it's been a while since Paul had real time off and this week we've totally reconnected and are in Lurve, yes it's soppy but hey it's 7 years since we got married so I reckon thats worth celebrating.

Todays piccy is from Gullivers where we enjoyed this ride where as you can see you lie on your front, you're then hoisted up and spun around to enjoy the sensation of flying, when Abigail and I had our turn we spent the entire time giggling, then again that Abigail, she's a proper daredevil, I spent most of my time on the bigger rollercoasters screaming but she just thought that was even more hilarious, what can I say, I am indeed a proper wuss!!

It's also very much been a week of lurve over at my forum Craft, I must add it's not just my forum it also belongs to the lovely and much superior techie Phillip, we're enjoying a week over there of free speech, happiness and lots of giggles, including the occasional crafty bit I may add so if you haven't checked us out yet then there's never been a better time, especially as this weekend we're having a competition, details over on the forum.

Happy Weekend everyone :)
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Good Day, Bad Day


Well it's been one of those days when we had the good and the bad, pretty mixed bag really, don't want to bore you with all the gorey details but I will have a quick scream about the Woolwich/Barclays fiasco.

I popped a cheque in today and OMG so much trouble because my woolwich account no longer exists but I don't have all the Barclays details yet...... ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH, did you hear it? Aah that feels so much better now!

There were major complaints from a certain Hubby (AKA Studley Rogers) about my photo of him and his 50p face yesterday so today we'll share this one of him doing his Studley the Explorer "Hey Senore Charlton please can you tell us the way to the sleepy mountain" (to be said in the accent of DORA)

Personally I think he quite suits it and looks a bit yummy but thats a whole other post!!

Oh must mention my lovely Craft forum that I co-own, we've a new member in the shape of Rosemary Merrys (of QVC scrapbooking fame)lovely husband Nigel who just happens to have brought a few (hundred) friends along, if you want the lowdown and gossip from behind the scenes (including sneaky hints to crafty TSV's etc) then there is no better place to be, come and join the craft revolution at CRAFT
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Monday, May 07, 2007

And Relax!



Firstly apologies for starting a sentence with and (and then capitalising it) terrible grammar, english etc!

No apologies for being knackered though, we've had 2 fun packed days away and now I am ready for my bed!

So as you know it was all in honour of this little lady and she really did have the time of her life I think. Yesterday when we were at Gullivers World she turned and said to me (whilst jumping up and down excitedly) "Mummy this is the funnest place we've been to ever" Can't really argue with that statement. So chuffed that she's turned 5 today and is for the most part a lovely young lady.

Of course I have tons of photos from yesterday and today at Knowsley Safari Park I took anough photos to last a week.

This one sums it up for me though, total an unadulterated fun, look at the expression on that face, it's a definite 5op face if ever I saw one, if you want to know what a 50p face is you'll have to ask my other half and I only know because it was him that taught me the concept!!

The hotel where we stayed was fabulous and I can see us going there again as I've told Paul I desperately want to go and visit Liverpool and then also maybe link up with some time in gorgeous Wales which isn't too far away from their either.

I particularly loved our family swimming session last night, it was the first time ever we'd all been swimming since before Laura came along and I loved it so much, I have promised that we'll go swimming more often as it's one of the most sporty things you can do to lose weight and tone up all at the same time and it's a bag of complete and utter fun!!

So look out for more postings from Charlton HQ during this week and Happy Bank Holiday Monday!!
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Going Away

In honour of Abigails big 5th birthday on Monday we're off to Cheshire tommorrow, we're going to Gullivers World (a theme park for the under 13's) and then on Monday we're making a visit to the Blue Planet Aquarium, all terribly exciting but the best bit is that we have a hotel suite booked for tommorrow night, it's 10 star (Abigails own category) and thrilling because it even has a pool (new swimming costumes all round) in which I plan to have my very first swim for atleast 5 years tommorrow night, probably before we take a meal in their award winning restaurant.

Sounds good doesn't it!!! Well I am looking forward to it so much, I can't remember the last time I stayed in a hotel discounting the Travel Lodge in Dundee 4 years ago! We may only be going away for 1 night but it will be the best holiday ever according to the children and you know what I have a tendency to agree.

I went on a bit of an unplanned spending spree today and bought new outfits for the children, a couple of new jumpers from Next for moi and a petrol hedge trimmer for Paul, I'm assured he won't be using that on our Mini-break (ooh see I've gone all Bridget Jones now!) and it is in fact for his fledgling gardening business. Soon there will be 2 of us in one house with our own businesses!

Speaking of which, I have a new website, have a look HERE, ooh and celebrate with me when you read the front page, I only got notification of that award yesterday and I could win quite a few dollars at the end of the year.

1 more thing, I bought myself an official grown up lady purse today, I thought it was time to stop having the purse of a 5 year old because after all I am now a grown up..... well maybe!!
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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mandy needs.....

Yes I popped it into google and here's what came up :-

Mandy needs - Little introduction (well thats obvious, once seen, never forgotten!!)

Mandy needs - A 6ft fence as she can sail over 4ft fences ???????

Mandy needs - A thorough physical examination and some tests (yes well I think I got those out of the way last week thanks)

Mandy needs - An obsession (err, photography, scrapbooking, have they not heard?)

Mandy needs - The human touch that only traditional animation could (oh goodness the mind just boggles!)

Mandy needs - Help in ways I just can't comprehend (been reading my psychiatrists notes again have they????)

Mandy needs - A knight in shining armour ( can they please make it Ewan Mcgregor or David Tennant)

Ok so now it's your turn, pop your first name and then needs into google and then post what comes up, if it's hilarious post a link so I can come and have a giggle, go on this stuff is priceless, harmless and you wouldn't want to keep it all to yourself now would you?
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