Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night Before Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Card for You!

Jasper Carrott's Christmas Cracker 2008

We were out last night to Jasper Carrott's Christmas Cracker Show at the NEC in Birmingham. We've been to the Rock with Laughter Shows he's put on for the last 3 years which have always been great, but with the Christmas Cracker shows (which are every 4 years) you don't know who's going to be on the bill until they walk on stage. Past Crackers have featured top stars including Sir Cliff Richard, Robert Plant, Bill Bailey, Roger Daltrey, Robin Gibb, Chris De Burgh, Riverdance, Vanessa Mae and even Victoria Beckham. The vast majority of performers appearing at these shows will originally have been from the Birmingham/Black Country area.

These are variety shows Jasper puts on each year for charity where the performers give their services for free and the lighting, sound, and stage people work for just a nominal fee. The Rock with Laughter Shows are usually over 4 nights, but the Christmas Crackers are only on for the one night and each year the shows are always sold out to capacity of 10,000 each night! This year we were given free flashlight keyrings as we came through the doors and to see 10,000 little lights twinkling like stars around the arena throughout the performance was fantastic!

Last night kicked off with Elkie Brookes with her backing band, who was fantastic. She sang Pearl's a Singer and Gasoline Alley and at one point held a note for what seemed like forever, and would have been amazing for anyone, but even more so given that she's now 63!

After a local comedian called Lee Wilson did his act (who did some very funny gags about Redditch - which anyone who's familiar with the traffic system there will appreciate) we had the great Rick Wakeman on keyboards,who appeared with Yes in the early years before having a solo career. He did a solo stint which included playing a medley of nursery rhymes in the style of various classical composers and then a rendition of Eleanor Rigby in the style of Prokofiev (brilliant!) before coming back later on in the show with a 'supergroup' including Bev Bevan, the drummer from ELO and Tony Iommi, lead guitarist in Black Sabbath as well as Dave Berry and Toyah Wilcox in an amazing costume with huge feathers protruding along her back who sang Sweet Child of Mine. There was also a surprise appearance by 'Ozzie Osbourne' :-) (Thanks to Clareh for the video, and she has lots more on YouTube - dont miss Rick Wakeman playing Eleonor Rigby, just superb!).

Closing the first half we had the great pleasure of seeing UB40, who were playing on their home turf, perform 3 of their biggest hits including Red, Red Wine and went down a real storm.

There was another great show stopping performance from Escala, the 4 girl group who appeared on Britains Got Talent last year and play electronic strings, 3 rather strange looking violins and a double bass (very similar to Bond). They looked and sounded amazing in very short sparkly gold dresses and did a set of at least 4 different tracks, including Palladio.

The comedians on the bill were Lee Wilson (mentioned earlier), Bobby Davro (who had driven up from Bristol after appearing in panto the same evening)and Lee Mack, who's in one of our favourite sitcoms, Not Going Out and also appears in They think it's all Over and Would I Lie to You. Bobby Davro had some great gags about his time in Eastenders and came up from London just for the show.

Also appearing on the bill were a troup from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, who were sadly depleted as 4 of their number were down with the flu.

The last act to appear was Roy Wood, who was particularly successful in the 1960s and 1970s as member and co-founder of the bands The Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. His songs included See My Baby Jive and Blackberry Way and the show finished with his famous I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.
For more videos of the show on YouTube go HERE, these include UB40, Toyah Wilcox & Escala (with thanks to Lee Gibb).

And of course Jasper Carrott was there to introduce the acts and act as compere throughout the show and nearly £200,000 was raised for hospice charities, many of them local.

As usual a great show and the lighting, sound system and side screens on either side of the stage seem to have been improved as well at the NEC. I'm sure they were HD quality the pictures were so good!

Can't wait for next year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday 20/12: Pretty in Pink!

Don't forget to hop on over to and check out all the other great entries for this weeks Scrapbook Saturday and add yourself to the blogroll.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Diet Monday: Week 11 - 262lbs (18lbs lost)

It's been a while since I posted about my diet and the reason is, it's been a little bit irregular over the last few weeks. I lost another pound, then put 2 back on, then lost again, then gained it back! But this week I feel confident enough to say I have definitely lost a further 2 pounds so thought it was about time I updated the blog :-)

Now all I have to do is keep it all off over the Christmas and New Year period and hopefully I would love to be able to lose another 3lbs by the 31st (she says very optimistically!) which would make it a stone and a half lost altogether this year (or at least in the last 3 months I've been doing it).

I doubt I'll do a diet post now until after Christmas, but check up again and see how I do when I post again on the 5th Jan (it should be interesting!).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday 13/12:The Boys in their Xmas Hats!

This week I have used papers and elements from Flashgraphics Creations. Make sure you visit as Marie has lots of lovely Christmassy freebies waiting for you to snag.
Visit Flashgraphics Creations for some great freebies!

The photos are of Pepsi and Max in their Christmas hats. Pepsi was fine about wearing his lovely green and red pixie hat. But Max wasn't impressed at all and just wasn't cooperating. I am lucky I got any decent photos of him in his santa hat and scarf. I think you can sense the sulk he's in :-) He's far too sensible and dignified to be putting up with this malarky.

Don't forget to hop on over to and check out all the other great entries for this weeks Scrapbook Saturday and add yourself to the blogroll.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Warming Christmas Story!

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving Pictures, Images and Photos

And Birthday Wishes to my Hubby XXX

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday 22/11: Santa's Little Helper!

This weeks scrapbook page was created using a kit by Angelique, a french lady, who's blog Le Digiscrap d'Angelique has a lovely selection of kits available, together with examples of them being used. This kit is one of her FREEBIES and has some great papers and elements.

As you can see we are starting to get in the Christmas spirit :-)

Don't forget to hop on over to and check out all the other great entries for this weeks Scrapbook Saturday and add yourself to the blogroll.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Taking the Grandson to Finding Nemo on Ice!

Contd from previous post.....

Fortunately it was only for the two nights as they were up here to go and see the Finding Nemo on Ice Show at the NIA in Birmingham on Saturday. When they asked me to book tickets for the show, there had been a couple of previews on the TV and I thought it would be fun to go with them and enjoy a night out with my grandson, as I don't see them very often. I was horrified to realise that this time it had been a whole year since I'd last seen them!

My daughter drove us into the city using her satnav and we arrived in plenty of time, I think the volume of traffic surprised her as she thought it was rush hour. I explained that the traffic was always that busy as Birmingham is the 2nd city in Britain, so it's very like London traffic. She's not used to driving in traffic like that as she lives down in sleepy Devon. But she coped very well, even when several lanes of traffic converged from different directions as we approached the NIA and all wanted to join the one she wanted, particularly as it was a very dark and wet night, making conditions difficult.

The show was fantastic, with wonderful costumes and great skating. There were two entrances at one end of the large ice rink with a large screen between them, on which was projected appropriate scenes from the movie. From the moment the characters of Nemo and his Dad appeared on the ice after an introductory scene from Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy, it was clear that to my 5 year old grandson they were real. The very fact that it was clearly a woman on ice skates wearing an oversized Nemo belt didn't register. He just soaked up the spectacle of colour, movement and music – and all were there by the boat-load.

The sets were impressive with plenty of eye-catching pyrotechnics when required (grandsons reaction was 'awesome' when we all jumped the first time one went off) and some neat high-wire stunts to get the kids 'oohing and ahhing' on cue - the pelican was particularly fun! The menace was provided by a giant shark and whale but, without wanting to give away the ending, they left the set without satisfying their hunger pangs, while being pretty impressive.

So overall, a fantastic show that enthralled the children from start to finish, and grandson went home happy clutching his souvenir programme and Nemo mug and hat, which he couldn't wait to show his schoolmates the next day.

What is it with Teenage Boys?

It's been 4 weeks since the Boy Wonder moved in with us and I think we've only seen him a couple of times! Well that's what it feels like, as he spends all his time up in his bedroom, and most of it is spent on his laptop playing World of Warcraft. Well he is 17, and apparently this is fairly normal behaviour for this age! At least according to my friends at work who also have teenage children, particularly boys.

I think poor hubby had this idyllic vision of the two of them spending time together and bonding - yeah right! He has however, been sadly disillusioned, particularly now the first few weeks are over and he can see what the future holds. The first week he took time off work to run around various colleges, training centres & job agencies with the BW, trying to organise him into the world of work or get some training.

He had been accepted by an agricultural college for a course in animal management (I think he had ideas about working in a zoo or somewhere like Woburn) but at the very last minute he changed his mind and decided he didn't want to do it (Don't you just love them?) but he has no idea what it is he does want to do - if anything!

Unfortunately with the recession looming large this is not the ideal time to be job searching. He does have about 12 GCSE's so he's not stupid, just aimless and I think hubby has got fed up of being the one doing all the 'driving' and decided to just get Christmas and New Year over with before giving him a kick up the proverbials.

At least he's not costing us a lot to keep at the moment, which is one way of looking at it and we only see him at meal times :-)

Unfortunately he is occupying the room that used to be my study and I had to clear out all my books etc. Two large bookcases, which we managed to accommodate in the other two spare bedrooms, the smaller of which we use as an ironing room and the larger of which is my dressing room, which doubles as a guest room. However I still have a large stack of boxes of books, papers, photo albums and other paraphenalia piled on the sofa bed and on the floor, so when my daughter came to visit with my grandson for a few nights at the weekend, I was unable to accommodate them in that room, so they had to sleep on the sofa in the lounge!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sky Watch 21/11: November Sunrise!

Play SkyWatch Friday

Click to play November sunrise!
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This slideshow consists of a series of photos I took yesterday morning from a window at the back of my office block south of Birmingham, England. The whole series was taken in a 15 minute time frame and have not been altered in any way. I hope you enjoy the show.

Be sure to click on the Sky Watch badge for the Blogroll link above to visit more beautiful skies from around the world.

Sepia Scenes 20/11: The Floozy in the Jacuzzi!

Play Sepia Scenes with Mary the Teach on Thursdays

Sepia Scenes is a Meme that Mary the Teach, over at Work of the has started. Mary is also the organiser of the Ruby Tuesday Meme. The meme consists of posting a photo you must have taken yourself, it can be any subject, but it must be tinted sepia. Easy to do in a photo editor. Mary will open the Mr Linky list up from Wednesday every week, but you can add your entry any day after that. For more info and to get involved pop over to the Sepia Scenes HQ.

This weeks photo is one of the fountain in Victoria Square, Birmingham, England. The statue at the top is known as the Floozy in the Jacuzzi! The building at the top is the Council Offices and to the left is the Town Hall.

I edited it into sepia and framed using a very easy to use online photo editor called PHIXR.COM which is useful if you don't have access to your own editor, but do have web access, plus it doesn't need Flash or similiar to work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ruby Tuesday 18/11: A Man and his Dogs!

Click on pic to enlarge

As I had just completed this digital scrapbook page of my lovely hubby looking very happy with our 2 dogs I thought it would make a lovely Ruby Tuesday post - it's certainly red enough!

Why not join in and post a Ruby Tuesday picture yourself, the rules are simple. Just post a picture with red in it, but it must be one of your own and it can be of anything you like. For more details hop over to The Teach at Work of the Poet and check out the blogroll.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Diet Monday: Week 7 - 264lbs (16lbs lost)

I can hardly believe I've lost another 2lbs again this week! which makes a total of 16lbs and only 12 to go to my first goal of losing 2 stone by 31st December. And this despite having Spag Bol and a roast chicken dinner at the weekend, although I've got very good at regulating how much I eat when I have my main meal in the evenings. Whereas before I tended to eat whatever was on my plate, now I stop when I know I've had enough, and depending on how much is left it goes to the dogs or in the freezer for another time. As for breakfast and lunch I have stuck to the SlimFast shakes religiously, avoiding all temptations such as a cake sale we had on friday for Children in Need, not to mention the large box of chocolates and bottle of wine I won in the raffle! (Hubby won a DVD of the latest Indiana Jones movie & a set of matching collectors marbles!)

I had my daughter and grandson stay for a couple of nights at the weekend and we went to see Finding Nemo on Ice at the NIA in Birmingham, great show, but I hadn't seen her since this time last year and although I knew she had lost weight - three and a half stone actually - I was amazed at the difference that made to how she looks and has really spurred me on to be even more determined to keep on the straight and narrow.

The only problem I have at the moment is a lack of exercise. If I am honest I haven't been doing any for ages. I did try doing some to a YouTube video, but hubby said I looked like a demented aeroplane, which I had to agree with :-)and let's face it, I didn't need much of an excuse to stop! Now I've said this before so you'll probably take it with a pinch of salt, but I'll try and get more active this week. I'm not going to give myself a certain number of minutes to workout each day but just going to see what I can do and maybe that will work better. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Join me next week to see how I get on :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This week I have used a couple of great Quick Pages (QP) from Pam Lefors Designs. Pam makes some lovely kits and usually has a FREE QP available for download each week. I love her muted, grungy style and her limited colour pallette. Apart from her lovely bluey range, she does a very nice rusty range. Her Rustic Autumn range is particularly nice and her peeled paper sets in this range are gorgeous.

Make sure you click on my scrap pages to enlarge, they really are worth seeing properly as the detail, especially in the top one is amazing.

That's my grandmother and mother in about 1926 in the first one, which is still available, and my stepdaughter with her partner and new born son, Jonah, in the second, which is no longer available, but Pam does have another similar QP available for free download at the moment. so make sure you get over to her webpage and grab yours.

Don't forget to hop on over to and check out all the other great entries for this weeks Scrapbook Saturday and add yourself to the blogroll.