Friday, 25 November 2011

Gareth Love

I must be losing my mind, as I just can't work out how I managed to get through a whole three weeks of Gareth Malone on television without a post about him.

If you read my old blog, you will be aware of how much I fancy the pants off Mr Gareth Malone, Choirmaster Extraordinaire. He tickles my fancy so much that when I had my Hen Party in 2010, my lovely friends arranged for him to come. Yes, he was there...

...albeit in the form of a blow up doll that had been dressed from head to toe in my best friend's boyfriend's gear (pants and socks included) for a game of 'Pass The Gareth' (normally people would substitute the 'Gareth' for 'Parcel). It was great fun and I must be the only girl around who can boast that 'Gareth Malone came to her Hen Do'.

Yes, since 2007 there's been a lot of 'Gareth Love' going around.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here is a clip from Gareth's most recent project which saw him create a choir from the wives and girlfriend's left on a military base when their partners were deployed to Afghanistan for six months.

As with Gareth's previous projects, the choir has brought people together, many of whom thought that they were tone deaf and that choirs were just for posh people in churches. 

The Military Wives Choir from Chivenor are going onto amazing things. They sang at the Festival of Remembrance earlier this month and are releasing their song Wherever You Are to enter the race for the Christmas Number 1. A more worthy festive hit than X Factor? I wholly think so.

There is still time to watch the most recent series of The Choir on BBC iPlayer. Make sure you settle down with a mug of tea and a big box of tissues - it seems to have made so many people very teary. The stories the ladies tell of being parted from loved ones and the worry they go through is heart-wrenching. Not only are our soliders brave, but their families are remarkably brave to carry on with normal life and daily routines.

I find Gareth to be an incredible leader/teacher who manages to bring out the very best in people, whether they are children or adults. He encourages enthusiasm through his warmth and passion for music. You get the feeling when watching him on television that if he is talking to a member of his choirs his focus is on the them and, unlike most reality TV stars, not promoting his own fame. I hope to acquire and use some of these skills as a TA and hopefully, eventually as a teacher. 

And did I mention that he is very handsome? 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Living In A Building Site

This is what my kitchen looked like a week ago.

 It looks even worse now. There's no sink, no hob and no units.

There's also a big hole in the ceiling. I can see into the first floor!

The only room that is untouched is our bedroom. The only space to sit in our flat is on our bed. We just sleep and wash there and try to side-step the dust, stripped floors and imagine what it will be like in a month or so's time.

We're trying to be cheerful!

Evenings and weekends are spent at my parents' house which is where Fluffy Cat has been relocated too for the time being. My parents are loving their house guest, and the food there isn't half bad either.

For a short while our flat is just a house, it's not a home. I can't wait for it to be 'our home' once again!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Christmas Ahhh

I saw the John Lewis Christmas advert for the for first time today.

Once again, it's very sweet.

I like the twist at the end.

I usually hate adverts but I love to watch them at this time of year. I'm sucked in, whether it's for luxury goods or for a supermarket.

I'm just a girl who loves sparkle and magic a little bit too much for her age!

Which Christmassy adverts are you enjoying?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Christmas Greetings

It does seem very early to say that, but I've not gone bonkers wishing you a Merry Christmas very early. I'm wondering if you've already bought or made your Christmas cards.

I bought ours in the January sales - beautiful and a bargain. As we send over 70 cards to family and friends it's worth trying to save some money and buying extra early. For very close friends and family I make a few handmade cards throughout November for that more personal touch.

If you would like to send a homemade card but lack the inspiration, skills or time this year, I would like to introduce you to Handcrafted by Paula.

Snowy Festive Post Box

Paula is a life-long crafter (It's in her genes - her mother is also an inspired maker) and since the birth of her gorgeous daughter three years ago, she has started her own card-making business from her home in Godmanchester.

Knitted Father Christmas

Paula's Christmas Cards have a mixture of religious and non-religious themes.

We Three Kings

There are plenty to choose from - cute snowy penguins for children...

Snowy Penguin

...and more sophisticated scenes for adults. 

Perhaps the card below would be most suitable for the designated cook on Christmas Day?

...mmm Mince Pies!

Paula can also adapt cards to suit your needs. With the '...mmm Mince Pies!' card the Mince Pies and baking equipment could be substituted with a turkey and a roasting tin.

Three Babushkas

Most cards are normally priced under £3.50 although some of the larger cards with more detail can be slightly more expensive.

As well as Christmas Cards, Paula makes a wide-range of cards for all sorts of celebrations - birthdays, new arrivals, weddings, christenings. 

You name it, Paula can do it!

Baby Elephant
Owl Anniversary - The owls can be substituted with the recipients' favourite animal.

The best place to view Paula's current card repertoire is from her Facebook page which is regularly updated with lots of photos. You can also find contact details and a list of events where you can view the cards.

Paula can even create invitations. These were specially (and beautifully) crafted for my Hen Party last year.

If you're in the Huntingdonshire area, events coming up include:

Crafting Angels Christmas Fair
Saturday 19th November 10am-3pm
Park Road Baptist Church, Rushden, Northants.
St Mary's Christmas Bazaar
Saturday 26th November, From 2.30pm
St Anne's Primary School, Godmanchester.

I hope you enjoy looking at Paula's website. 

In the meantime, I had better get a wriggle on with writing some of those 70 cards!