Monday, 30 December 2013

May 2014 be a blessed New Year

Happy New Year friends, it has been a pleasure to journey 2013 with you.

I am sure this next year will be an eventful one and I have high hopes of what God will be up to in my life and yours.

I'm not big on resolutions as I just find they are made to be broken but I do like looking forward and vision, so here are my expectations for 2014 -


What are yours?

BTW - have you seen the new canvas colour function in Picmonkey, it allows you to create your own little graphics like mine above. I love it!
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Saturday, 28 December 2013

19 years ago today...

A guy that I was not that keen on picked me up from a very wet pier that I had just fallen over on.

He then saved me from dancing with a very creepy guy at the nightclub on the pier.

We had our first kiss that night and the rest as they say is history.......

Now here we are 19 years later with three small people to call us Mum and Dad and a life very different to the one we might have imagined all those years ago. I'm happy where we are and what we are doing and I'm happy to be with you.

Love you babe xx

I thought it might be fun to track through the years of photos of the two of us and see how we have changed.

1995 - on holiday

Christmas Party - 1996
1998 - on holiday
1999 - At a party

Our wedding - 2002
2006 - End of year ball

2008 - Family wedding, girls aged 1.5 years and JJ was 5 years
2010 - Another family wedding
2012 - My birthday

Christmas eve - 2013. Very blurry but I love the happy faces!

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Thursday, 26 December 2013

My extra special Mum

I count myself as an super lucky woman, not everyone has a Mum a fabulous as mine. Each time you see those competitions where you can enter someone to win an award for being exceptional I feel I should enter my Mum. It is a bit of a tricky one really though as there is no one exceptional reason why she should win. Thankfully she has not had to parent a terminally ill child, rescue someone from a burning building or overcome a massive tragedy.

What she does is just be her loving self every day. She once told me I was the heart of her heart and I feel exactly the same way back, it is so sad that we do not live closer and get to see each other every week. I think we do well for living a couple of hours apart and I cherish the time we have together, even if there are usually three very intense children after her attention.

Whatever the circumstances I can always turn to my Mum and if I needed her she would be here in an instant. Back in October dh and I got to have four wonderful days away together as her and Dad were happy to come and stay in our house and look after our children.  No walk in the park as they are pretty full on! In fact most years since have had the children we have been able to escape for a short break to spend time together and my kids are happy to welcome their second Mum here.

It is a massive blessing to know we can turn up at my Mum and Dad's house and they will be happy to see us whenever. 'Mum, can I leave all three kids here so dh and I can go to the cinema?' Yes sure is the answer I get. If I had to ask 'Mum, can I borrow some money, we are in trouble?' I know the answer would be yes sure again and when I need a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk a difficult situation through with then she is the one I turn to.

As well as the important traits of being loving, giving and always there, I can't fail to mention that she is also fun (read a bit nutty), a fabulous shopper and a great friend to have.

Thank you Mum for being super ace. I really do appreciate you and know I am blessed to have a Mum like you.

When the Halifax gave me a £50 voucher as part of their 'Giving Extra to someone special' campaign, I knew exactly who I wanted to buy a Christmas gift for. Mum has been hankering after a cream and navy spot Cath Kidson day bag and as these are £50 it seemed just perfect! I hope you enjoy using it Mum.



Disclosure: I was provided with vouchers to allow me to buy a present for someone extra special. I have not been told what to write and I remain honest.
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Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas 2013 - the year of....

Santa coming during the day time and bringing one of his elfs too!



Indoor bouncy castle fun, yes I had a go too, much to Miss E's delight!


Home-made entertainment and fun and games with our community. Wii dance, board games, hide and seek and party games - it was good!


Classic Christmas morning fun with the kids opening their presents before Daddy cooked us pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon, all served with maple syrup.


All of Christmas on a large scale, big trees, enormous open fires and Christmas dinner for 80!


It has been a good one. 2013 has been a year of change that is for sure!

Happy Christmas all. Mich xx

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Saturday, 21 December 2013

From our house to yours.... Happy Christmas

Stunning window in St Marys Church, Battle 

Today the kids break up from school and we I intend to go awol from the world of blogging for a while. This is the first year in our new home and we have family to go and visit, movie dates, brisk walks, sofa snuggles, board games wars and three days with our new big family of 77 staff and volunteers to enjoy.

I wish all my readers a beautiful Christmas, may you and your families really enjoy yourselves and I wish you peace and joy for the coming year.

I made one of those Elf Yourself videos but I've managed to lose the embed code and I can't bear the thought of making another so you can still watch my family and I enjoying a silly time at a mock office party if you follow this link.  Oh yes we can bust some moves!

Be blessed, Mich xx
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Friday, 20 December 2013

Just 6 more sleeps to go...

Christmas is drawing ever closer and the children are literally in a frenzy.  I can't believe how excited they are this year but it is beyond any other years I've experienced with them so far.

I don't want to wish the days away but I am so ready for them to calm down. Once they finish school we are off visiting relatives for a few days and then straight back into the organised festivities here in the community we live in.

The other weekend we were really glad to find a local Christmas tree festival to go and visit. Since all the children have been born we have been part of a Christmas tree festival every year, most years submitting a family tree and this was one of our traditions that we feared we might lose. Thankfully it does not have to be so as there is a local festival. It is much smaller and is a combined crib and tree festival and is actually far less commercial and much more true to our faith than our old one used to be, so it is good.

Take a look at some of the fabulous submissions in the festival -



Do you have any Christmas tree festivals local to you? The idea does seem to be taking off now.


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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Grace in small things - Christmas time

I know many people are feeling stressed and unhappy right now and I pray they work through that quickly and realise that most of the stuff they are worrying about really does not matter too much. If they have their health, some friends or family about, enough food to eat well and a warm home then they are in a great place.

Despite an infection of some sort (chest or throat I'm not sure, I just know I've been poorly) I'm still feeling incredibly grateful and happy that Christmas is just around the corner. I'll share my thankfulness in photos this week -


Both our Christmas trees are up and we have sparkle and bling galore, I love it!



I adore these matryoshka dolls that I bought when I was visiting Belarus last year, they make me smile each day as I see them on the fireplace.


I am a sucker for stained glass and the church this morning that we visited for the kids carol concert was full of beauties


Monday night after a day in bed and still feeling very low the last thing I wanted was a group of people coming to our house but I knew I would enjoy seeing our pastoral group. I was so blessed by the lovely volunteers who came and joined dh and I for a meal and some fun. We got treated to chicken curry, a Brazilian dessert and these fabulous Czech biscuits.


I'm getting much better at learning how to use my new camera (my early Christmas present). It is a Lumix G5 and instead of going for the obvious choice of a DSLR, I went a different route and it is a CSC which means it is much smaller than a DSLR as it does not have the classic mirror prism but I can still swap lenses and manually adjust all my settings.I think I'm doing OK for a totally new user, just look at those water drops on the wildflower.



Lastly a big thank-you to Bon Marche who sent me through a pretty box of their accessories to use in the cold and wet months. How did they know red was my favourite colour?

I'm linking this post up with Jo at OJo's World for Reasons to be Cheerful and Sticky Fingers for the Gallery, where the theme this week is your Christmas tree.
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Sunday, 15 December 2013

My picture: His words


And here is the verse in full -

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

This week I've been reminded again that not everything can last forever and we never know how long a season will be. So it is really important to live in the moment and to treasure that day, for it will never come again.

I've not created a linky this week, but if you have a post then leave me the URL in the comments and I'll come visit and add a real link into the body of this post, so you are always here for others to find.

Wishing you a blessed week, Mich x
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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Falling in love with nature - Fabulous fungi

This is a post purely for me, as I'd like somewhere to visually record all the wonderful fungi I have found in East Sussex this late summer/ Autumn. It baffles me that I have fallen so in love with nature this year but God speaks through creation and it was obviously time that I opened my eyes and started to rejoice in this awesome earth that He created.

I have no idea what is edible and what is poisonous and to be honest I think it is too much of a gamble to pick mushrooms anyway, so I'll just continue to admire them from afar and love all the different species that I have been finding. If you do know what some of them are then by all means leave me a comment and I'll become more educated alongside enjoying their beauty.

So I think this is the Chicken of the woods and I was amazed at fast it grows!


These appear to be the poisonous Fly Agaric -


No idea about this tan coloured one -


My favourite by a long shot, have you ever seen a fungi look like this? A shaggy ink cap maybe? I believe the one on the left is the same as the other and that is morphs and decomposes pretty quickly.


This could be a Birch Polypore?


I think this next one is such an elegant fungi but again no idea what it is -


All four of these found in a wet area near the lake, all in close proximity but I think they are all different -


And am I right in thinking this is the same mushroom, but just at different stages of its life?


And at the risk of boring anyone looking at this, this is the last one I'll add (although I have tons more, mushrooms really have gripped me this year!)


So there we go, fungi fetish over for a while. I go photograph some clouds instead and now I have my new camera I can get much better photos in the future.
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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review: Snapbox canvas print

My husband is not an easy man to buy Christmas gifts for (or any gifts for that matter), he has no particular hobbies, loads of books waiting to be read and not a particularly sweet tooth. Yes we could get him socks or a new shirt but they really are boring and of course he would just buy those for himself.

The thing that dh likes to do more than anything else is spend time with his family, so the kids and I thought it would be great to be able to capture a moment from when we have all been out together recently and to immortalise that. Luckily Snapboxuk.com got in touch to ask me if I would like to review one of their canvas prints. I was not so sure at first as we have a number of canvas prints and whilst I like them I just thought they were nothing really special.  But I was wrong, Snapboxuk.com is different and they offer a nice alternative to the normal boring canvas - their canvas print comes in a black enamel covered wood frame. The image looks as if it is floating in the frame, just look -


I found the Snapbox UK website really easy to use, you can either upload a photo from your computer/ mobile device/ FaceBook or if you find that difficult you can email one to the company directly from your mobile and they will create the order for you.

I uploaded a photo (I loved the fact I had a % bar telling me how much had uploaded already - no guesswork!) and this was good for me as it meant I could use the editing tools and crop the photo so it was a closer shot, I also could have added an effect to the image such as changing it to sepia or adjusted the rotation - all within Snapbox and that is great as with other providers I have had to use an external program to make my amends first and then upload the image.

Once you save any edits you see your image in a snapbox frame so you really can get an idea of how it will look. There are a variety of sizes to choose from ranging from 13cm x 13cm for £19.99 inc VAT up to 25cm x 33cm for £49.99 inc VAT.  It is good that there are both square and rectangle options available as this means you can print Instagram photos in this way too and for me these are some of my most treasured images.

Once the order was done I received my finished Snapbox very quickly (they say within 5 working days) and it was very well packaged, so I would have no qualms to recommend Snapbox to others. The kids are thrilled and can't wait to give this to Daddy for Christmas and Daddy will be thrilled as the back of the frame comes ready to hang and he does not have to do anything more than knock a nail in the wall!



If you care for your Snapbox print properly (keeping it indoors, away from direct sunlight and dust it occasionally) they expect it to last a lifetime which is fabulous. There is also a 100% satisfaction guarantee and if you are not happy they want to hear from you but given my experience with them I'm pretty sure you will be.

Disclosure: I received this canvas print free of charge for the purpose of this review, I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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