Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Giggly Wigglies

Dear reader, I have a problem, it's not a big one but it's a problem just the same. The thing is you see, I can't actually get a great photo of both of my girls together. It doesn't matter when you try and photograph them or indeed how many sweeties you promise to give them afterwards, they just can sit in the same place without it turning into random silliness and giggles!

I suppose really if I'm honest this is a pretty acurate description of their characters, i don't have the alternative photo yet, thats the one where they shout scream ang pull each others hair out yet, I fear dear reader though that it's not very far away!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not more Christmas photos????

Actually these ones are not specifically from Christmas, I took these ones of the girls yesterday, it ws my quest to get some new decent photos of them, however the Christmas tree is currently blocking out nearly all the natural light out of the livingroom and it was far too cold to go on treks outdoors so these will have to do until I get rid of the blinkin tree. I can't believe how much I really want to rip that thing down but hey ho it will probably remain there until atleast after the new year celebrations, Paul and I decided to have a very exclusive party where we would only invite our closest friend so that just me and him again then!! Alas thats the shame about having no friends in the very near vicinity, all my friends I have met through the internet and although i have been lucky to meet many of them in person, very few of them live just around the corner!!

You'll note that we're back to normal sized photos today, blogger just refused to let me upload any images yesterday so I had to resort to teeny flock ones, today we're back, thank goodness!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More from a Very Charlton Christmas!

Yes more snapshots of our very lovely Christmas and boy do I need to be reminded of it, can't beleive it was only a couple of days ago, hubby went back to work today and I returned to my groundhog day of children, chores and more of the same!!

I always get a little sad at this time of year as I love Christmas so much I'm always gutted that I have to wait a whole year for more fun and frolics.

I've just tidied my desk in an effort to kickstart a little scrapping and I need to mail my boss and see if there is anything for me to do, atleast thats one great thing about working from home.

The kids have played out on their new bikes today even though it's freezing cold and Loobys nose looked a gorgeous shade of scarlet! I also decided that I should refrain from all alcohol, I was more than a little tiddly last night when I collapsed into bed at 9.30pm (I know last of the stay up and party crowd) I reckon I had consumed an entire bottle of red wine and an additional glass when were out earlier in the day so it's more than a small miracle that I have no hangover today, even so I thought after all that food and drink of the past couple of days my liver could do with a wee mini-break before we have to toast in the new year in just a few more days.

So todays photos are Abigail having her usual yearly Christmas day, dear reader it is a tradition now so I thought I should share. Also Iain receiving his prize present, a remote control Dalek.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

We certainly did that dear reader for just one day of perfection we laughed, we joked, we did absolutely nothing, we regressed to a childlike state and played with toys, we watched Sing-a-long Wizard of Oz and Paul and Iain played X-Box games, the kids were happy, the parents were cheery and I don't think I heard anyone cry all day, usually crying is one of the most common sounds in our house having a 3 and 4 year old and that dear reader is usually me!!

Of course Abigail had her usual Christmas huff but we're used to that by now, I'll see if I can find the photos of last years Christmas huff and we can compare them dear reader!!

Even the cats seemed pleased with their new delux carousel house, or was that just because they could see Iains new mouse out of the corner of their eyes!

I had to upload of course Pauls "James Bond Villain" moment with Loobys new Fur real Cat for moments like that don't come along every day and I think it's a little priceless!!

The bottom photo I took myself last night and for a self portrait taken at the end of a long Christmas day, most of which you have spent tiddly with cava, I'm sure you'll agree was not half bad!

I hope you've all had a wonderful boxing day today, I know our friends in the states don't celebrate boxing day but for us it's been pretty much the same as yesterday, mostly relaxed and mostly on the silly side of sozzled and with that dear reader I'm off to finish my rather nice glass of red wine!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa Claus is coming...

In the words of the classic pop stars Hi-5 "he's ready and on his way, time to put the stockings up, tommorrows Christmas day ay ay ay ayayay" Told you they were classic!

Yes tommorrow is indeed Christmas day and I'm blogging early today dear reader as once again, I was far far far far far too excited to sleep!

I have cookies, gingerbread and mince-pies to bake, fruit and vegetables to buy and much Bucks Fizz to be drunk before the day is old!

Yesterday I was star mum, we went to the local garden centre whereupon we bought Iain a pet of his very own, please welcome Stacey the mouse to the Charlton family everyone. No piccies as yet as Iain and Stacy in her very own travel palace went to stay with pauls dad last night, they're due back around 10.30am so i'll try and squeeze her in for her very first photoshoot at some point today!

We also bought our cats Poppy and Elphaba a new cat house, it's red and purple and shaped like a carousel complete with dancing horsies, its very cute but I'm not sure if they even like it, they just keep wandering past it, occasionally popping in but only for cat fights, maybe they think it's some kind of wrestling arena. Oh thats an idea, maybe I could sell tickets!!

Dear reader this has been my first year of blogging (my anniversary is in January) and you have been nothing but kindness to me, you've all left lovely comments and provided support when it's been needed and thats the thing dear reader, without comments a blog is merely a diary and I for one always hated a diary as it wouldn't give me advice!!

Happy Christmas dear reader, may Santa visit and fill your stockings with joy, your sacks with delight and most of all your hearts with warmth.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm So Excited!

You wouldn't beleive dear reader that I didn't get a wink of sleep last night, although dear reader you may have guessed that if you know me well, and the reason for my lack of shut eye, well I don't think I can control myself any longer, I'm just so excited because it's only 3 sleeps till Santas arrival and i'll be tracking him with Norad, yes it's a yearly tradition in our house we all get really excited on christmas eve we start tracking the big guy, then the kids lose interest and it's just me left acting like a 5 year old and crying out "OMG Santas just been spotted over the great wall of China" Yes dear reader hope for me is fast running out, even the funny farm gave up hope, so much so that they packed up and moved in between appointments!!

You know, this is the very first year we've not had to worry about the financial aspects, don't get me wrong up until Paul started work a month ago I was in a panic but hey I did all the christmas shopping by internet in 3 weeks, I may not have sent Christmas cards but apart from that i'm mostly the most organised I have ever been. I'm off to the supermarket this morning for last minute gifts and the grocery shopping, am I phased that it will be one of the busiest days of the year, why no dear reader, I am positively brimming with yuletide joys of the season and cannot wait and if all else fails atleast I have my 3 year old for protection. One mostly sensible thing is that the kids don't actually finish school till this afternoon so only 2 hyper-exciteable days instead of the usual week. tat my dear reader is what I call a blessing sent from above!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just some Random fun!

So it's darkest December and the weather isn't perfect for photography. Indoor photography without flash is not at it's best, still I tried to take just a few photos today and I thought I would share them as really it's a bit of a blogging lull as well, no doubt next week i can regail you with tales of my fabulous (or disasterous Christmas) but for this week dear reader nothing really is going on in my jam packed life!!

Todays photos are firstly my fabourite fish, I'm not a fish fan but you can't really escape them when your husband has 3 4 foot fish tanks, this fish Severum Ballesterios as I call him really does have personality, when I speak to him he comes over to listen and when I ask him if I can take his photo not only does he sign the release form but he stays in one place for long enough, the same cannot be said for our Oscar or T-Bar Cichlids, fi you want to see piccies of them you'll have to wait till a day when I have more time and patience or scroll back a wee while on hubbies blog, I think he has a few.

We also have today a photo of looby playing hide and seek, sadly her hiding place (behind the apple) was not the most sneaky of places to hide and it really didn't take too much time to find her!

Lastly for today, it's me, yes my festive visit to my own blog so that in 60 years I can remember just how young, gorgeous and glamourous and if you know me all very well dear readers you'll know that last bit was firmly with my tongue in my proverbial cheek!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Festive Family Fun

we had some super Sunday fun today with the whole family trouping off in the search for Santa and Hooray much to everyones joy we found the big guy, I don't know how he managed to squeeze us in as I'm sure it must be one of his busiest weekends of the year. The girls were so excited to see him and would have stayed for tea, cakes and a right old natter had he the time but sadly we'd already waited half an hour to see him and there was a queue of eager children a mile long behind us.

Iain said he was far to old to be messing about with visits to Santa claus and heartily refused to have his photo taken, you should note dear reader that to even manage this one was a minor miracle!

We managed to squeeze in some lunch and a wander around the garden centre as well as a ride on a roundabout, some candy floss and a stop on the way home at the local farm to pick up some organic produce for tea.

So dear reader as I sit here I can smell a gorgeous pot roast which my husband has very capably cooked and I've Napster loaded up and am whiling away this very festive afternoon with some seasonal songs ranging from the soundtrack of "Love Actually" to the very classic and much under-rated "We wish you a Wombling merry Christmas". Yes dear reader I have a musical taste which not many understand and most laugh at!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

growing and growing!

It's funny how you can see the same thing every day without noticing any difference and then one day kaboom, you notice and OMG! Thats pretty much how I feel about the girls getting bigger, just lately I haven't had much time for photography, in fact sometimes it's been hard to squeeze in life and photography has just fallen by the wayside. These photos are about the only ones I've taken over the last couple of weeks and it hit me tonight whilst I was editing them just how fast they're growing, Looby isn't my baby but a very sweet little girl and Abigail is turning into a beautiful young lady. Yes I know they're both really still my babies but it just goes to show that sometimes the things hardest to see are the ones right before your eyes.

Dear reader I must tell you I was seeing my therapist and she of course noticed just how well I am and how happy, I think it's got a lot to do with not having my mothers influence over my life and also a little to do with the fact that for the first time I am totally and completely relaxed about Christmas! I know for once that theres only the family to worry about and how easy can pleasing this lot be, just show them a big pile of toys and a few bars of Chocolate come Christmas day and they'll all be happy, as for Mr Scrapping Through Life, well much the same really, let him play with his toys, eat piles of choccy and festively drink the day through, then when the children are in bed, slip into that something which he hasn't got me yet but better get the hint and it's wayhey all the way until Boxing day!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Aww, I love a Nativity Play....

So much so that I had to share a few clips of abigails performance today. Abigail was one of the narrators and the play was called Cock-a-doodle Christmas. There's only around a minute of video and i promise it will make you smile!


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Raindrops on Roses....

Well actually rain drops on every blinkin thing if you must know as it's pouring with rain once again, honestly it's the dullest dampest December we've had for years and not even a slight promise of snow on the horizon! I tell you what does a girl have to do to get herself a white Christmas!

In other news dear reader, any of my lovely british readers catch the Royal Variety Performance last night?

My highlights were most definetly Take That ( ooh they're so hot and manly these days) and also my most favourite Idina Menzel and the Cast of Wicked performing "One short Day" and "Defying Gravity" I had goosebumps the whole way through although I'm slightly dissapointed that they have turned Glinda into some posh british mockney, yes thats sort of cockney, honestly some of her lines were a little "Dick Van Dyke" (remember Mary Poppins) for me. I thought it might have just been me but Hubby definetly agreed! I'm not due to see Wicked till february (we're going for my birthday) when Idina will be nothing more than a memory (well ledgend if you ask me) and i do hope that whoever plays Elphie in January doesn't make her British, it just wouldn't work, somethings are just best left with an american accent! Take note producers and directors if you're reading, you have been warned mwahahahahaha!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Financial Blondness!!!

Yes dear reader, it's occured, today or in fact at some point over the weekend there was a definite period of financial dumb blonded-ness, sorry to any of my blonde readership!

Upon checking our bank account this morning as I do every morning, I found that shock horror, I had dome my sums wrong and Amazon had only in fact debited some money from me today and not infact Friday when I ordered and thought it had gone.

The consequences of this wee error had me running around like a rather frantic and headless chicken trying to sort it out and avoid bank charges and divorce, sadly I only managed to avoid the divorce part, hubby was a total sweety and said we all have those bank charge moments once in a while and it has really been a while since my last bank charge moment, almost a year in fact, maybe thats what it is, 1 too many mince pies and a moment of seasonal sherry and I become financially dyslexic.

I really truly am hopeless with money but I do usually manage our bank account so that we don't have bank charges, occasionally it goes a bit belly up but thank goodness for that famous quote which reads to err is human or in my case "if it can happen then it probably will and mostly at exactly the wrong time"

Until tommorrow dear reader and don't forget to read over the next week as we have 2 Christmas performances to attend, it's iains tommorrow and Abigails on Wednesday, photo ops aplenty, she said hoping!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Feeling kinda perky!

I am, isn't it great, don't you just love those days when you wake up in the mornings and actually want to get out of bed.

Yes I know life isn't entirely perfect but it's darned close! I have almost finished the Christmas shopping and I know what our Christmas plans are, I have a kazzilion presents to wrap but the children are away next weekend so thats what we have planned in their absence.

I'm really truly postively looking forward to the festive season and you know what else, my friends bunny just had baby bunnies and she's asked us if we want one, my lovely hubby said a big fat YES, don't ya just love him, so all we have to do is pick up a hutch and in a couple of weeks we'll have a flopsy mopsy baby bunny! Yeehaa to that!

The children are mostly watching festive movies today, thank goodness for Sky and the 15 movie channels it possesses!

Hubby is in the kitchen making brunch and then I'm on duty this afternoon making a lovely Lamb Sunday dinner. I used to really have an aversion to Sundays before we both worked but now it's Hubbys only day off work I find that I'm really quite enjoying them.

I hope dear reader that you too have a fabulous festive Sunday whatever you're doing!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

After all the excitement....

Of yesterdays party would you beleive that Abigail had another social engagement this evening in the shape of another party for one of her school friends, I've made 2 birthday cards in the last 2 days and as far as I'm concerned thats far too many, i hate making cards and rarely do if I can help it!

I got a complete bargain today, a Talking baby Chou Chou for Looby, it 's supposed to be just under £35 and I paid £26 including delivery. Honestly I have saved so much money this year by doing all my shopping sans internet. i'm of course so thankful that I can do this as well as it means i have managed to avoid the normal hustle and bustle of this time of year.

The funny thing of course is that a few weeks ago i was really worried about how we would afford Christmas and tommorrow I will have finished the Christmas shopping except for a few treats and a couple of presents for special friends.

We're actually doing ok now that I'm sending hubby to work every hour that God sends. In the end we cancelled Christmas lunch out, I think we're just wanting to stay in our jammies on Christmas day and we've decided to have a lovely Lamb dinner on Christmas eve and then Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels for breakfast on Christmas morning, after that I'll put on a buffet which will stay out for the day and everyone can just help themselves as they please, ths of course also means that if the children want to have choccy fest all day then they can, one tradition we have in our house is that the only day when you're allowed to eat whatever you want all day is Christmas day!

I'm totally looking forward to all the festivities and next week it's both the kids christmas nativities and carol-singing, parties and the usual fun. My only regret is that working from home I don't get to have a Christmas night out with my lovely boss, no real excuse to get dressed up at any point over the festive period but i'm thinking to hell with it, I probably will anyway, hopefully hubby will whisk me off for a romantic night out and meal at some point. Go on over and tell him, I'm hinting won't you!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What do you think of my festive template?

What a flippin nightmare it was installing this one I can tell you, I had to shave loads of rubbish off just to get the main stuffs to fit in! I'm quite loving it though and thanks to my friends at Template Panic for providing it.

My first Party

Well not mine but Loobys, her first ever party invite arrived yesterday for the little boy who lives accross the road. There had been much excitement in the Charlton household as we anticipated her first ever formal invitation, party clothes were worn and special red sparkly shoes were the order of the day. Abigail also went and they both had a fabulous time, they came home with party bags full, Looby won a prize and my neighbour commented that she had never seen two little girls dance so much!

I think they had fun, they both had their faces painted and now they're rather quietly cuddling daddy and watching the Polar Express on sky movies. talking of their daddy, do you know he's disowned me

and removed the links to me from his blog and why you might ask, well basically he was drunk and blogging and I told him not to sully my good name and Paul being Paul he has to do everything to total extreme. Yes i know what you're thinking dear reader and yes you would be right, in the Charlton household the winter nights do indeed fly by!! Now go over to his blog and tell him to put me back on his blogroll poste haste or I'll mess with the settings on the brand new mobile phone I just bought him for Christmas and you know what he's such a technophobe he wouldn't have a clue what to do, it's to be noted dear reader that I had to set it up for him!! It has a 1.3mp camera so once the USB lead arrives expect many photos from the life of Paul!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Obligatory Santa Hat Photo!

Well it's not as easy as you would think, I was only allowed to take 10 photos of my 3 year old and only the condition that she got 3 lollipops for doing so. To be honest none of them really came out as well as I would have liked as she really wasn't in a co-operative mood, this was probably the best one, what do you think? Still not really good enough to pop in Christmas cards!

I'm going to try Abigail and Iain when they come in from school and fingers crossed I get something or it's going to be another year without Christmas scrapping projects!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh Balls!!!!

Well baubles actually but I have spent most of the morning shouting at my laptop, it's only a year old but it's so flippin damn slow. One of the Indian ladies I was talking too last week who had a degree in computing said I should get it reconfigured the thing is though I think that PCWorl d would charge a fortune whereas being a clever chick if someone cleverer than me wrote some instructions I could probably do it myself fo no cost. so far though i've done everything I can think of and it's still painfully slow. I'm doing a defrag at present but i'm doing one of those a week now and it's still not making a difference.

Gosh wasn't that the most boring post ever so i'm sharing some random bauble piccies which I took at the weekend, we have lots of special baubles, I collect them!lol but the ones i love most of all are the plain baubles and the way that the Christmas lights reflect off them to sort of give a Christmassy hazy glow.

Oh and I must add that we have an Owl at the top of the tree, it wasn't intended that way but for some reason wecouldn't find a fairy or a star anywhere and we're really not sure where it's gone so the Owl is there just until we can find a suitable replacement. Dear reader I'm off now to try and calm down, maybe I'll sit next to the tree and breathe in that piny goodness, whatever I do though can someone send me a man to speed up my patop because if they don't it might just end up smashed into a kazillion pieces Mwahahahaha

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Deck the Halls!

Yesterday was deck the halls day and we did indeed do just that! For the first time ever we bought a real Christmas tree, we paid £35 ($70) inc the stand for our 6ft lovely, now i know thats not the cheapest tree in the world but when I saw this tree I knew it was the exact one I wanted. I've always wanted a real tree and I finally got my wish! We do have a fibre optic white twiggy tree downstairs and I'll have to take a photo of that one another day. I have to say that in the Charlton household today dear reader it's most definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 ;)

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.


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.

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!!

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

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.

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!!

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!

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!!

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!!

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

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.

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.

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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