Busy, busy, busy!


I’ve been pretty much AWOL for a little while, simply because I’ve been so busy!

06.03.16 bTadpole has been preparing for his key stage 1 SATs (he started them this week), which I hate, because he’s been stressing out and personally, I think six and seven year olds are far too young to be sitting formalised exams, but that’s beside the point – he has to do them, so doing them he is! His first two papers were yesterday, and thankfully, he seemed to find them not too taxing (in fact, he said they were “A piece of cake!”).

17.03.16I’ve also just applied for Choochie to start nursery in January. He can’t start till then, because they can only start the term after their third birthday, so he’ll have to wait till after the Xmas holidays. Still, I wanted to get the application in early to make sure he gets a place – I can’t be traipsing between two different schools! Choochie also finally weaned (31 months of breastfeeding!), and has started potty training. He likes to sit on the toilet, but so far has only managed to squeeze out a tiny tinkle each time – he’ll get there eventually though!

Last month, I worked backstage on a pantomime – I did make-up for the Dame, which was great fun, and reminded me how much I missed the theatre, so I then went and auditioned for a show for the first time in 15 years! As a result, I have a very small role in a production of Sister Act, which will be performed in October. Officially, I am “Nun #11”, so as I don’t have a given name, I’ve chosen one for myself, and I shall be known henceforth as Sister Sara of the Two Mules (simply because I love Two Mules For Sister Sara). I’ve also decided to audition for a part in Annie later this year, so watch this space!

I was also part of the centenary celebrations at Blyth Battery this past weekend! Blyth Battery Goes To War is an annual event local to me, and it’s always a fantastic weekend, but this year marked 100 years since they started building it (it took two hears to complete), so it was extra special. And we got some wonderful weather for it too – the place was absolutely heaving all weekend, and the audiences were very appreciative. I got such lovely comments from people who watched my performances, my confidence was boosted a hell of a lot (I have an ego the size of Texas now!), and I was pleased to see  from photographs that I look half the size I did last year when I performed! And the most adorable little girl (who I think may well be my number one fan!) came up and danced with me during my instrumental sections – she was a superstar!

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Finally, I’ve done a fair bit of work on my Sky Blanket since I last did an update on it. I now have eleven rows joined, and I think it’s looking pretty neat! As Tadpole has been asking for a new “lovey blanket” since Choochie got his full-sized one at Xmas, I thought I’d give this one to him for Xmas this year. He’s been admiring it as it grows, so I think he’ll be very happy with it, and as I won’t actually have a section for every single day (or I’d have the wrong number of yo-yos for my rows), I will hopefully be able to finish it just in time, although it could mean a hell of a lot of border crocheting on Xmas Eve!

13235220_10156817102490386_7625483622086569872_oOn top of all that, I’ve picked up my cross stitching in earnest again for the first time in a good few years – I stitched a little sampler for my best friend’s wedding last November, and now I find the bug has crept up and bitten me again, so I’ve taken up a few of my UFOs to see if I can finish a few of them. I’ve stitched a few bookmarks to send off to my pen pals, but I’m also working on my Rules For Life sampler, which I started before Choochie was born – hopefully it’ll be framed and up on the wall before the end of the year!

Speaking of pen pals, I’ve picked up a few new ones, and I have been involved in making pocket letters and flip books for them – I’ve been going paper-crafting crazy, and writing letters like a mad woman. Actually, I have one to write today, so I’d better get a move on!

And so, I hope normal service will now be resumed, although I seem to have even more things demanding my time and attention than ever, what with getting involved in a show again!

 

 

(2015) 52 things in 52 weeks update


52 things in 52 weeksI won’t promise to do a monthly update, as life often gets in the way of such things, but here we are at the end of January and I find myself with a few minutes to spare, so I’ll do a quick round-up of how my challenges are going so far.

Surprisingly, I have now completed TEN of the 52 challenges:

2. Watch 5 films nominated for awards in the 87th Academy Awards
I’ve actually now watched seven films this year that have been nominated for various Oscars, and several of the films I watched last year have also been nominated for Academy Awards. You can check out all the films I’ve seen HERE (and there are sometimes links to reviews I’ve written if you click on them!)

4. Post predictions of Oscar winners
Click the link above to be taken to my predictions post.

8. Apply to be a giver for World Book Night (fourth year running!)
I actually applied at the tail end of last year as I didn’t want to risk being late, so I started the year with one challenge completed. A teensy bit of a cheat, perhaps, but for a good reason. I really hope to get chosen again as I love taking part in this!

9. Drink no alcohol for 4 weeks (28 / 28)
Not one drop of alcohol has passed my lips during the whole month of January. It wasn’t particularly difficult, as I’m not really a big drinker, but I do tend to have a few drinks over the course of the festive period, and I have occasionally been tempted to crack open one of the bottles left over from the end of last year!

32. Make a summer holidays bucket list
You can see my list for this summer HERE. It’ll be a work in progress, as I’m sure I’ll hear of various events being held locally nearer to the summer holidays.

35. Make a family photo book/album of last year’s (2014) pictures
My photo book arrived a couple of weeks ago and I love it! It’s sitting with the previous two on the shelf in the living room. If you’d like to make one, I highly recommend Vistaprint – it’s a very easy to use system and a very professional finish.

39. Not shout at my kids for 4 weeks straight (28 / 28)
This was perhaps the most challenging of my challenges. I’m not a partiularly angry person, but I do have a six year old son who likes to push the boundaries! Nevertheless, I have managed not to shout at my kids all month, and I intend to continue as long as possible, I have raised my voice to call out to them from another room or over some distance, but I have not raised my voice in anger. I may have lowered my voice and spoken slightly forcibly through gritted teeth once or twice, but I have not shouted, and of that I am incredibly proud. I have once or twice gone into another room (or even a cupboard) and given out a short, sharp scream to vent some frustrations, but never in the same room as my children. And it hasn’t gone un-noticed. Tadpole has commented on it several times and seems quite pleased. We’re also trying to work on how he vents and expresses himself, so hopefully we will soon have a harmonious and peaceful home where nobody shouts. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

43. Continue breastfeeding Choochie to the age of 15 months (10 January)
We made it past this milestone and he’s still going strong. Honestly, Choochie is a total boob-monster! He no longer nurses at night, but wakes around 4.30am for a feed and a cuddle, then a couple of times through the day he climbs up on my knee for his Milkies, but mostly when he’s feeling tired and wants to nap. He does, however, usually stop before he falls asleep and will now go to bed while still awake and settle himself down. He’s also started sleeping a little bit longer (most of the time, anyway), which is making a huge difference to me and my quality of sleep!

48. Make / contribute three items for charity (3 / 3)
I’ve actually made about 40 items now! I’m taking part in the Be Aware, Make a Square charity drive to raise awareness and money for a meningitis charity. The squares will be made into various items which will be auctioned off.

52. Make a new list of 52 things in 52 weeks for 2016
I’ve already made my list! It won’t be posted until the end of the year, so I may well tweak it a little bit, but it’s got 52 challenges on it ready to go!

I also have quite a few challenges ongoing and partially completed:

1. Watch 52 films in 52 weeks (17 / 52)
5. Read 2 books each month (2 / 24)
18. Lose 14lbs (9 / 14)
27. Split all my coppers between Tadpole’s and Choochie’s piggy banks each month (1/12)
28. Save all £2 coins into the Xmas fund each month (1/12)
29. Save all silver up to the value of 20p into the Xmas fund each month (1/12)
30. Put aside £2 for each challenge completed into Xmas fund (£20/£104)
31. Save £10 per week (£50 / £520)
34. Visit family in Scotland
36. Take the kids to the library once a month (1 / 12)
41. Share a photo of my kids and me each month (1 / 12) (see the photos HERE)
44. Continue breastfeeding Choochie to the age of 18 months (10 April)
45. Write 12 letters (total, between them) to my various pen pals (3 / 12)
49. Make six gifts /Xmas decorations (3 / 6)
50. Release twelve new cross stitch charts (1 / 12)

And these ones will be started in February:

10. Eat no chocolate for 4 weeks (0 / 28)
11. Drink a green smoothie every day for 4 weeks (0 / 28)
16. Try out 6 recipes I’ve never tried before (0/6)
17. Try 6 foods I’ve never tried before (0 / 6)

So, quite a lot of progress made, and I’m well on my way towards fulfilling my list of challenges!

New year… New projects!


My first projects of the year...
My first projects of the year…

Happy new year!

Yes, this is the first post of 2015. We’re already three days into the new year, and I already have a number of new craft projects on the go – gotta keep my hands busy!

Once scarf finished, an afghan begun, and some dark grey pillowcases to edge – I hope the recipients will like their gifts when they receive them!

I’ll also be starting a cross stitch project this month – it’s been a while since I cross stitched anything, so I have that curious mingling of excitement and apprehension.

On top of that, I’ve already started with my 52 things in 52 weeks challenge for this year. You can check out my challenges and my progress on the challenge page HERE.

Right, back to it – my fingers are itching to pick up a hook and yarn and get back to it!

52 things in 52 weeks – August Update


52 things in 52 weeksOK, it’s been a while. A few months in fact. I’ve been keeping tabs on my challenge progress, but sometimes I just didn’t manage to find the time to make the monthly post about it, so here is one big catch-up to keep you up to date with where I’m up to on the challenges. Quite a few are now completed, which is great, and some are still in progress.

Here’s how things are going:

Food challenges (30 days each):
17. 30 days of green smoothies – July (20 / 30)

Again, I didn’t manage the full 30 days, but I had a smoothie most days and will still take part in the October challenge.

Other food challenges:
19. Take the kids blackberry picking

We got a large enough haul for a crumble, but not enough for jam as yet. I plan on grabbing some more blackberries over the next couple of weeks and hopefully we’ll get enough to make a small batch of jam at least!

Financial challenges:
23. Put £20 into Tadpole’s savings every month (£160 / £240)

24. Put £20 into Button’s savings every month (£160 / £240)
25. Split all my coppers between Tadpole’s and Button’s piggy banks each week (35/52)
26. Put £1 for each day of every month into savings (£243/ £365)
27. Put £1 for each challenge completed into the Xmas fund (£30 / £52)
28. Save all £2 coins into the Xmas fund each week (35/52)
29. Save all silver up to the value of 20p into the Xmas fund each week (35/52)
These all continue as usual. The totals are totting up nicely and our individual piggy banks are looking a bit healthier!

Entertainment challenges:
30. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (17/52)

Still not caught up to where I should be with this challenge, but as I have a 10 month old baby who never sleeps and clings to me like bindweed, I think I can be forgiven for not being able to find so many quiet moments alone to read. you can get links to all the reviews HERE.
33. Visit six local attractions (6 / 6)
We’ve now been to LOADS of places locally. You can see which ones on my list HERE.

Family-related challenges:
34. Continue breastfeeding Choochie to the age of 6 months (10 April)

35. Continue breastfeeding Choochie to the age of 9 months (10 July)
Another two milestones crossed off here, and Choochie continues to be a total boob moster. He’s coming up on 11 months now and it doesn’t look like he’ll change any time soon!
38. Share a photo of my kids and me each month (8 / 12)
I’ve been sharing them, some on here, but mostly on my Facebook page, where, granted, you’ll not be able to see them, but they’re being shared. Here are a few recent ones though!

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41. Take the kids to the library once a month (8 / 12)
We continue to make our monthly visits to the library. Tadpole loves stopping in to check out the books.

Personal challenges:
47.  Get a new job

Technically, I got my old job back, as I managed to secure a transfer to my local branch after my maternity leave ended. Unfortunately, I was then forced to quit because I wasn’t able to cover the shifts they wanted me to work due to childcare difficulties and the fact that they wanted me to work full days when I was only supposed to be part time. So, for the time being, I am being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, but I shall be looking for another job to see if I can find something that will fit in with our family needs.
49. Make twelve Xmas gifts /decorations (1 / 12)
I’ve now gathered craft pretties to make more Xmas gifts, so this section will shortly be completed as I get my crafting hat on and my fingers get busy!
50. Release twelve new cross stitch charts (12 / 12)
Completed! I’ve actually have another eight that will be released over the remainder of the year as well, so this one is well and truly smashed!
51. Post a monthly update (8 / 12)
OK, so I haven’t technically given monthly updates here, but I have made regular posts which have kept the blog up to date and everyone abreast of all kinds of goings-on, so I’m choosing to count those here and renewing my resolve to keep up monthly challenge updates from now on!

52 things in 52 weeks – April Update


52 things in 52 weeksWe’re now officially one third of the way through the year. Time is flying by faster than ever and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll manage to complete my list of challenges this year – I certainly hope I can!

So, with no further ado, here’s how things are looking as of the end of April…

COMPLETED:
14. No more than 5-ingredients – Avoid any and all packaged food products that contain more than five ingredients no matter what ingredients.
This one was easy as I cook almost everything from scratch, so even on recipes with more than 5 ingredients, each item is a single ingredient. It’s all good, home cooking with simple, fresh ingredients, so I’m happy with that. And my 14 week real food challenge us now complete!
16. 30 days of green smoothies – April (20 / 30)
I had to buy yet another blender for this challenge (I have no luck with those things!) and I was away for part of the month so I didn’t get my green smoothie every day, but it was two thirds of the time, at least, so I count this month completed.
22. Do not eat chocolate at all for 4 weeks straight (4/4)
I’m sure I slipped up a few days here and there, but coupled with the time I went chocolate free in February, I’m ready to call quits on this one!

Other Challenges:
32. Take part in three author book blog tours (3 / 3)
I’ve now completely blasted this part of my list of challenges out of the water! See the blog tours and book blasts from this month here:

34. Continue breastfeeding Button to the age of 6 months (10 April)
Button is now almost seven months old and has been breastfed the entire time. He’s now having some solids too…

39. Visit family in Scotland
40. Take a family holiday
See Tadpole’s take on our Easter holiday visit to Scotland HERE.

43. Go to the dentist
We all went along to the dentist before we left for our holiday, and all our teeth are in good health. Button doesn’t have any teeth yet.

IN PROGRESS:
23. Put £20 into Tadpole’s savings every month (£80 / £240)

24. Put £20 into Button’s savings every month (£80 / £240)
25. Split all my coppers between Tadpole’s and Button’s piggy banks each week (18/52)
26. Put £1 for each day of every month into savings (£121/ £365)
27. Put £1 for each challenge completed into the Xmas fund (£24 / £52)
28. Save all £2 coins into the Xmas fund each week (18/52)
29. Save all silver up to the value of 20p into the Xmas fund each week (18/52)

30. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (7/52)
Check out which books i finished in April HERE.

33. Visit six local attractions (3 / 6)
We went to Waves Leisure Pool at Whitley Bay during the Easter holidays – the first time the kids had been to a swimming pool. We all had a great time and will be going back regularly. We plan to get swimming lessons for Tadpole during the summer holidays…

38. Share a photo of my kids and me each month (4 / 12)

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41. Take the kids to the library once a month (4 / 12)
Our monthly visits continue unabated…

46. Write twelve letters to my penpal (4 / 12)
I sent my letter along with one of the copies of Gorky Park which I was giving out for World Book Night.

50. Release twelve new cross stitch charts (5 / 12)
I released TWO charts during April – Don’t Panic and Easter Bunny.


51. Post a monthly update (4 / 12)
Done for another month!

52 things in 52 weeks – February update


52 things in 52 weeksAnother month over – we’re two months into our year-long challenge, or, more precisely, nine weeks through our 52. I’m rather pleased with my progress too. I completed six challenges last month and have crossed off several more in February.

How is your challenge going? Are you ticking off items quick as wildfire? Or are you making slower progress? Either way, whether you’re happy with how things or going, or getting disheartened, DON’T GIVE UP! We can do this together and feel that wonderful sense of achievement at the end of December!

Here’s how I’ve done this month:

COMPLETED:
Food challenges (one week each):
5. Try two new whole foods
Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.
6. No low-fat, lite or nonfat food products
Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”
7. 100% Whole grain
All grains consumed must be 100% whole-grain.
8. Stop eating when you feel full
Listen to your internal cues and stop eating when you feel full.

IN PROGRESS:
Food challenges (one week each):
9. No refined sweeteners
No refined or artificial sweeteners including (but not limited to): white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, sucanat, splenda, stevia, agave, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and cane juice. Foods and beverages can only be sweetened with a moderate amount of honey or maple syrup.

Other food challenges:
22. Do not eat chocolate at all for 4 weeks straight (0/4)
I actually slipped up one morning when, in a semi-somnambulant haze, I ate a chocolate biscuit with my coffee. I was just finishing the last morsel when I realised what I was eating and kicked myself. Then it happened again when I licked the spoon after putting chocolate spread on a waffle for Tadpole, so I’ve decided that instead of the 4 weeks, I shall give up chocolate for Lent instead and then this part of the challenge will be completed good and proper!

Financial challenges:
23. Put £20 into Tadpole’s savings every month (£40 / £240)
24. Put £20 into Button’s savings every month (£40 / £240)
25. Split all my coppers between Tadpole’s and Button’s piggy banks each week (9/52)
26. Put £1 for each day of every month into savings (£59 / £365)
27. Put £1 for each challenge completed into the Xmas fund (£10 / £52)
28. Save all £2 coins into the Xmas fund each week (9/52)
29. Save all silver up to the value of 20p into the Xmas fund each week (9/52)

Entertainment challenges:
30. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (3/52)
Check them out HERE.
31. Watch 52 films in 52 weeks (39/52)
Check them out HERE.
32. Take part in three author book blog tours (2 / 3)
Cloaked in Danger by Jeannie RueschBook review / Author interview
33. Visit six local attractions (1 / 6)
We visited the Hancock Museum. Check it out HERE.

Family-related challenges:
34. Continue breastfeeding Button to the age of 6 months (10 April)
38. Share a photo of my kids and me each month (2 / 12)
Check out our trip to the Hancock Museum HERE and our family wedding HERE for photos.
41. Take the kids to the library once a month (2 / 12)

Personal challenges:
46. Write twelve letters to my penpal (2 / 12)
49. Make twelve Xmas gifts /decorations (1 / 12)
50. Release twelve new cross stitch charts (3 / 12)
51. Post a monthly update (2 / 12)

52 things in 52 weeks – January update


52 things in 52 weeksSo, here is my first full monthly update on this year’s 52 things in 52 weeks challenge. You may remember I did weekly updates last year, but this year I know I’ll be much busier, so I opted for monthly updates instead – something far more achievable.

Here’s how January has fared:

COMPLETED:
Food challenges (one week each):
1. Two fruits and/or vegetables per meal – Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.
2. “Real” beverages – Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day).
3. Meat – All meat consumed this week will be locally raised (within 100-miles of your hometown). Meat consumption will also be limited to 3 – 4 servings this week, and when it is eaten meat will not be presented as the “focal point” of the meal. Instead meat will be treated as a side item or simply used to help flavor a dish.
4. No fast food or deep-fried foods – No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.

Food challenges (30 days each):
15. 30 days of green smoothies – January (24 / 30)
I didn’t quite complete all 30 days because, as part of the crappiest run of luck during one week, my blender packed in. The new one I bought at the start of the month to replace the old one that died. It sucked anyway – it never once made a completely smooth smoothie. Either way, as I would have completed it, I consider this one completed in spirit.

Other food challenges:
21. Apply for an allotment
The application form has been sent off! My brother-in-law has expressed an interest in getting on board with this so we’ll hopefully be sharing a plot so it’s half the work and half the price for both of us, but still all the benefits of organic, home-grown produce! There’s a waiting list of 17 people, but there are 50-60 new plots being developed at my first-choice site, and I have been assured that everyone on the waiting list will be offered a plot as soon as they’re ready, so this one is definitely getting off the ground (ahem – sorry, for the bad pun!) sooner, rather than later!

IN PROGRESS:
Food challenges (one week each):
5. Try two new whole foods – Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

Financial challenges:
23. Put £20 into Tadpole’s savings every month (£20 / £240)
24. Put £20 into Button’s savings every month (£20 / £240)
25. Split all my coppers between Tadpole’s and Button’s piggy banks each week (5/52)
26. Put £1 for each day of every month into savings (£31 / £365)
27. Put £1 for each challenge completed into the Xmas fund (£6 / £52)
28. Save all £2 coins into the Xmas fund each week (5/52)
29. Save all silver up to the value of 20p into the Xmas fund each week (5/52)

Entertainment challenges:
30. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (2/52)
Check them out HERE.
31. Watch 52 films in 52 weeks (28/52)
Check them out HERE.
32. Take part in three author book blog tours (1 / 3)
The Tudor Conspiracy by Christopher Gortner – Book review / Author interview

Family-related challenges:
34. Continue breastfeeding Button to the age of 6 months (10 April)
38. Share a photo of my kids and me each month (1/ 12)

Tadpole and Button
My lovely boys having a cuddle
Kell
My fringe is in serious need of a trim,
but I’m holding off on a haircut
till my cousin’s wedding next month…

41. Take the kids to the library once a month (1 / 12)
We LOVE going to the library, so this one should be pretty easy to keep up. 🙂

Personal challenges:
42. Lose 14lbs (4.75 / 14)
46. Write twelve letters to my pen-pal (1 / 12)
I have written my January letter to my buddy, Louise. We’ve been writing a couple of years now. One of these days we might even meet!
48.  Use FlyLady.net to get into a regular routine with the housework
I’ve allocated a room to focus on each week of the month to work in rotation. There are things in each room that will be daily or weekly anyway, but once a month I’ll give each room a detailed going over. Not quite on top of things yet, but I’ll get there!
49. Make twelve Xmas gifts /decorations (1 / 12)
Obviously I’m not going into any detail at all, in case the intended recipient sees it, but I’ve started on the Xmas gifts already and completed one so far, and am working on several more…
50. Release twelve new cross stitch charts (2 / 12)
My annual band sampler was released on New Year’s Day. Download it free HERE. I also released my Hope Sampler for sale. Buy it HERE.
51. Post a monthly update (1 / 12)
Here it is!

Kincavel Krosses January Sale!


January SaleFor those of you who don’t already know, I design cross stitch and blackwork charts and showcase them over at my Kincavel Krosses blog. And as it’s a new year and everyone is enjoying the January sales…

It’s the new year and stitchers everywhere will be looking forward to some post festivity relaxation time, hopefully with a project or two on the go. Well, at Kincavel Krosses, we like to enable stitchers to do that so that means SALE TIME!

Anyone who emails me between 00.01 Saturday 4th January and 23.59 Friday 31st January (GMT), can have any one of my designs that are for sale for just £2.00 (instead of £3.50 each) . There is no upper limit to the amount of designs you can purchase, so if you really want to, you can take advantage of this sale to stock up on all the available charts for sale. *

Just email me at lady.kell.smurthwaite@gmail.com with the heading “January Sale” with your choice of chart(s) and I will send you a Paypal invoice for the total amount, I will then email you the charts once payment is confirmed.

Choose your charts from the ones listed HERE.

Thank you in advance!
Kell @ Kincavel Krosses

*The only exemptions to this are:

  • Team Twilight multipack – they must be purchased separately at £2.00 each (which still gives you a significant discount!)
  • The two Cancer charity designs – they remain £3.50 each and all proceeds go to Cancer Research UK

52 things – week 30


52 things in 52 weeksThree fifths of the year have now passed and we’re busier than ever! Still getting everything sorted out at the flat ahead of our moving. And that moving date is edging ever closer – it’s scary, but exciting at he same time. We’ve still found time to do some fun stuff, but mostly our time has been taken up with all the little things you need to do before you sell your home – the list seems endless! I know we’ll get there in the end.m This week we had the guy round to do the home report (just waiting to hear how much our flat is worth!) and also the photographer to take pictures for the schedule. I have to say, the flat looks pretty fabulous right now!

And in the midst of all this, another couple of challenges have been completed (or at least, the second one has progressed to a point where I feel confident in calling it completed), and it’s one of which makes me incredibly proud!

Books:
1. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (45/52)

Reading: Alexandre Dumas – The Man in the Iron Mask (K)
Reading: David Peace – The Damned United
Reading: Kate Forsyth – The Wild Girl (for blog tour – review and interview!)

4. Read only books that I already have, have been given as gifts/to review, or have borrowed from the library for 52 weeks (30/52)
Still not bought any books. It’s getting easier as I go on, but it’s been made easier still by my decreasing the amount of books on my shelves in readiness for moving. I know I can’t afford to take up more room with new books! Looking forward to getting registered at the local library shortly after we move.

Family:
13. Teach Tadpole to read – COMPLETED!
After trying in vain for what seems like forever to encourage him, Tadpole has suddenly grasped the concept! We’ve always read a lot of stories to him and tried to encourage him to sound out and recognise words here and there, but he always gets frustrated very quickly and refuses to even try. However, I downloaded a little game to my tablet computer that encourages him to sound out the letters, then blend them together to read the word and he’s being doing very well with it! We were so impressed this week when, even without the game, we could verbally spell out words and he recognised them, as well as when he sees them written down. He can even now spell some of the words himself without seeing them written down! I feel this is such an excellent improvement that I can consider this part of the challenge well and truly completed, even though I know we still have a long way to go. Keep up the good work, Tadpole – you’re making Mummy and Daddy VERY proud indeed!

Food and Drink:
38. Eat only vegetarian meals one day every week (30/52)
Vegetarian day: Thursday

Crafts:
43. Make / contribute to three items for charity (3/3) – COMPLETED
While sorting out my craft gear ready to move, I hauled out a few more items I’ve made to donate to a charity. These cards, key rings and buttons, all designed and cross stitched by me, will go to a local cancer charity.

donated to charityFinances:
45. Save all £2 coins for 52 weeks (30/52)
Total saved in £2 coins: £78.00

46. Save all 1p/2p/5p coins for 52 weeks (30/52)
Total 5p pieces saved: £18.75
All coppers have gone directly into Tadpole’s piggy bank.

47. Put aside £10 for every challenge completed (£130/£520)
Two more challenges completed this week – #13 and #43, so an extra £20 in the pot!

Other:
50. Self portrait picture every week (30/52)
Something a little bit different this week. A first public showing of my already colossal baby bump! This is at 28 weeks, so there are still anywhere between nine and fourteen weeks to go before Button makes an appearance, although I have a feeling Button may well be earlier rather than later. Tadople was very kicky on the inside, but Button really takes the biscuit – I am constantly being kicked to the extent that it often makes me physically jump with the surprise and force of it, so I reckon we’ve got another long-leggedy beastie in there! Sometimes it feels like Button is doing a really B-I-G stretch out as I’ll feel a very definite slow push at opposite ends of my belly which feels very weird. Anyway, here I am, already the size of a small country, with the promise of ending up looking like a very large one by the time Button is ready to emerge! I’ll post bump pics every few weeks for growth comparison…

My Mam reckons my bump is actually slightly smaller that it was at this stage with Tadpole, which just makes me think I must have been the size of a planet last time round! Although, I have to say, I think my butt has got a lot bigger this time!

And Tadpole couldn’t resist photo-bombing me as we tried to record the size of my bump for posterity. We did actually take another photo right after this, but I liked this one better!

27.07.13 - Week 30
27.07.13
Week 30
28-weeks pregnant
(and Tadpole photo-bombing me!)

51. Post a weekly update of my progress on my blog (30/52)
Done!

52 things – week 26


52 things in 52 weeksHere we are, officially half way through the year! Can you believe it? I’ve not completed quite as many of the challenges as I had hoped by this point, but there are quite a few well on the way to completion and I expect to finish off quite a few over the next few months. Till then, it’s back to the busy – this is Tadpole’s last week of nursery school, and we’re heading into the summer holidays, so we’ll be planning lots of fun activities with Tad over the coming weeks…

Also, due to me making several items for Button over the last few weeks, Tadpole has requested I crochet him a new blanket, so I’ve begun work on that. He chose the colours himself – air force blue, light blue and lime green. It’s gonna be awesome!

Books:
1. Read 52 books in 52 weeks (42/52)

Reading: Marie Mongan – HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A Natural Approach to Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing
Reading: Alexandre Dumas – The Man in the Iron Mask (K)
Reading: Jeffrey Eugenides – The Virgin Suicides

4. Read only books that I already have, have been given as gifts/to review, or have borrowed from the library for 52 weeks (26/52)
Got out a couple of books from the library. Still no new purchases though, I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone without buying a new book for myself!

Film and Television:
7. Watch 52 films in 52 weeks (44/52)
As you can see, we’re on a bit of a Star Trek films jag at the moment…
Watched: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)
Watched: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Watched: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Watched: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Food and Drink:
38. Eat only vegetarian meals one day every week (26/52)
Vegetarian Day: Monday

Crafts:
42. Learn three new crochet stitches/styles/techniques (1/3)
I completed my first ever proper item of clothing this week – a small cardigan for Button. Before now, I’ve only ever made acessories (scarves, hats, fingerless gloves) but this was a proper item of clothing that required multiple pieces to be assembled. I’ll share photos next week, as I’m very proud of my efforts!

Finances:
45. Save all £2 coins for 52 weeks (26/52)
Total saved in £2 coins: £68.00

46. Save all 1p/2p/5p coins for 52 weeks (26/52)
Total 5p pieces saved: £18.00
All coppers have gone directly into Tadpole’s piggy bank.

Other:
50. Self portrait picture every week (26/52)
I’m dying my hair today, so this is the last pic of my streaky hair with roots several inches long! Tying it up seems to hide some of the roots, although there’s a hell of a lot of pure white at my temples these days. To be honest, I can hardly wait for it ALL to turn prper full-on white, then I can quit dying it all together. Or even if I just got those Bride of Frankenstein streaks at each side that go the full length. That would be way cool! When that happens, I’ll quit with the dye, because it’s currently stretching it with TWO bottles of dye to cover the lot – I may have to stretch to a third one within the next couple of dye jobs! Here I am in front of my rather full bookcase (each shelf has two layers of books – it’s that deep!). Yo ucan see how dull and washed out the colour has become. That’s the trouble with reds – they never last long enough!

26. Week 26 - 29.06.13
Week 26
29.06.13

51. Post a weekly update of my progress on my blog (26/52)
Done!