Sunday, 21 December 2008

Bathroom Renovation

 After many months waiting for the completion of our (small) bathroom renovation, I can finally reveal all...

Before shot of the bathroom looking directly into the bathroom.  Shows the (useless) half bath with shower, toilet and sink.  
Next shot is the corner glass shelving beside sink and door.
Next we have the work in progress shot.  Tiles off the wall (mostly).  Bath out, just waiting for tiles to go on, so that we can take out the sink and toilet.
Another shot straight on of the bathroom with shower tray cemented in, just before we tile.
Bathroom al finished... New everything!  Chocolate coloured cabinets.  Thermal mirror so that it doesn't mist up when you are taking a shower.  Wide sink so that kids can (in theory) be in there at the same time, with enough sink each to carry out their ablutions with getting in each other's way. In reality they lock the door when one of them is in there - oh well it was worth a shot...  

Ivory coloured tiles with two vertical strips of chocolate coloured tiles, with metal strips down either side.  Shown better in next shot..

Towel rails behind door.  Detail on tiles is gold fleck in a trailing effect, looks like either a weeping willow or a waterfall, depending on your perspective..!!

New cabinet beside sink and door.  Lush!

A better look at the gold fleck detailed tiles..  Photo is a bit blurry tho!

A shot straight on..  
Because the bathroom is so narrow and small, it's very hard to get any good photos that do it justice.  
Just know that we are very pleased with the end result, and it was worth every minute of the blood (Bob), sweat (Adrian) and tears (me) that went into it..

A quick word of advice for anyone hoping to attempt a renovation of any kind.  Remember that it was cost twice as much as you originally estimated & take three times as long (11 months!!), and if you are thinking of using Porcelain tiles (as we did) - I think I can honestly say there is not another substance on this earth that is as hard as Porcelain, you will need diamond tipped drill bits just to scratch the surface!!

Anyway, we are 'in' now and using it, and we love it.

Thanks for stopping by..

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Real People Makeover

Anyone who knows me, knows that I HATE having my photo taken.. For various reasons, too numerous to list. I often think that if the kids want to one day look back at the photo albums, they won't find very many of me!  I'm always the first to volunteer to take everyone else's photo, and unless forced hardly ever appear in group shots.
Hopefully this will now all change..
I recently met an aquaintence that I hadn't seen in a while (this girl ALWAYS looks great - put her in a black bin liner and she would look chic), and commented that there was something different about her, that I couldn't put my finger on.  I was then told that she had participated in a makeover organised by the UK magazine Real People.
Later on that week, one of my colleagues commented to me that I would be an 'ideal candidate' for a makeover as I was a blank canvas (never wear make-up)..  After getting over my indignation at being called a blank canvas, and slowly coming to terms that, in actual fact they were absolutely right, I contacted the magazine to see if they would be interested in 'taking me on'.  I roped a couple of other girl from the office in, so as not to be entirely on my own.  I was told that they regularly flew to Tenerife to shoot layouts for the mag and they would include me for the next feature!
The girls arrived in resort and we all met for a 'get-together' to see which fashion layout we would be suitable for.  We then had our photos taken for the 'before' shots.  I was told to look as miserable as possible for the photo.  Easy, I thought.  She took my photo, slouched and hunched, looking thoroughly miserable and reported back that I looked awful (in a good kind of way...).
I was told I would be doing a double shoot for jeans with a size 16 girl called Liz.  I couldn't wait.  
The day arrived and I turned up for my makeover.  I told them that they could do absolutely anything they wanted to me, as I needed some (free) professional advice about what they thought would really suit me, rather than what was easy.  My hair at this stage was long (for me) being just below shoulder length.  The hairdresser (Tracey) said that she thought I should have a dark colour with highlights at the front and a shorter length, flicked out at the sides.
Tracey transformed me and then the makeup girl set to work on me.  I don't own alot of makeup, and so will have to make some purchases, as most of the 'stuff' they used on me, I have never heard of..  I was given false eyelashes (something I've always wanted to try, but never been brave enough to buy).  They used liquid eyeliner - to the makeup girls' dismay, I didn't realise the full implications of the word 'liquid', and so once she had applied it, she had to start again, as I failed to keep looking down and smudged it all into my lids (oops!!) - well I AM a novice!!  The makeup took about an hour to apply (yikes!), and then we headed off to do the 'shoot'.
(This is me trying to take a photo of myself in the mirror)
I had to walk past the bar on the way to the location, and was pleased with the inital response I got from Adrian - wolf whistles and all (bless), and so felt like a real glamour queen.
At the shoot, I was asked to try on several different outfits and stood in some awkward poses.  On more than one occasion I commented that the poses seemed like evil yoga postures - hard to get into, and even harer to maintain for any considerable length of time.  But I pulled through like a trouper, having a new found admiration for hairsrpay and Kate Moss.  No wonder she looks spaced out, it's BORING, trying to remember to smile :) and not frown :( everytime you changed your pose..  something which I did alot apparently...
At the end of the shoot, I got to keep a couple of outfits and rushed straight home to see what the rest of the family thought of my new 'look'.  Adrian saw me and took us all out for dinner to celebrate the new me.  Thomas curiously, when he first saw me, was amazed and said, "Did it hurt?"  It wasn't until later on in the evening that I would fully understand what he meant..
I posed for photos before, during and after dinner as I knew that the eyelashes would have to come off sooner or later and so tried to make the most of them..  Thomas again asked if it has hurt, and when I asked what he meant, he said "You know, the needles and the stitches"..  He thought I'd been on some sort of Extreme Makeover and had had surgery!!!  Bless, I really did need to wear makeup then..  I told him that there was no surgery involved and that this was all makeup that would wash off..
The next morning - and at the point I would like to say, how great it is that kids feel they can be so honest these days - Thomas took one look at me in the kitchen, shook his head and said, "The makeup makes all the difference".  Gotta love 'em..
However, this did not dampen my spirits, it just made me more resolved to make that extra effort and slap on some makeup when I go out.  Heck, I may even buy some glue to re-attach those eyelashes that I have put aside to lovingly.  One things for sure, I have resolved to throw half of my wardrobe away and start anew with 'trendier' styles.  I have even bought myself a couple of pairs of hipster jeans, and I am trying to train myself to not feel the need to keep pulling them up every two minutes, they are hipsters, they're supposed to be that low duh!
Adrian is still referring to me a super-model babe, which is encouraging, and I will now look at clothes on the rack and not think to myself that I am 'too old' to wear something like that..  The magazine is out (I've been told) on 1st Jan.
A new era dawns..
Footnote.  Whilst uploading the photos of the new me to the PC, I commented to Chelsea that one photo in particular was now officially, my favourite photo of myself.  I said that if I ever went missing, that this was the photo that should be given to the police to show on TV (as I wouldn't be ashamed of it)..  
A friend then pointed out, that it might hamper the investigation somewhat, as I didn't normally look like this...
Point taken, 'nuff said.

Thanks for stopping by..

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Short Break in Gran Canaria

Hi All

We managed a short break to Gran Canaria in August.

We took the ferry from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Once again we were using my least favourite mode of transportation (see La Palma post). Once we arrived in Gran Can though, we were greeted by a brand new motorway.. I say brand new, it was new to me as it wasn't there when I lived there 20 years ago..! Using this lovely three laned beauty it only took us 40 minutes to get to our accommodation..

We stayed at the Orquidea Hotel in Bahia Feliz, about 10 minutes away from the central (and more widely known) resort of Playa del Ingles. It was a recently refurbished hotel with all the amenities you could hope for. Once we had checked in we were told there was a cold plate waiting for us in the main dining room. Surprisingly, the cold plate was great and we could help ourselves to tea, coffee and soft drinks. We were already impressed!

Day One - Tuesday
Breakfast the next morning was followed by the welcome meeting which gave us lots of useful information about the island and the trips, sights and sounds we could experience during our stay. It was decided before we went to the welcome meeting that we would hire a child's wheelchair for Thomas as getting around on crutches was painfully slow for all concerned, and so Adrian stayed in reception to await the delivery of the chair.

We then headed over to Playa del Ingles to look for a mini-golf course. We always like to squeeze in a game of mini-golf whilst away and this holiday was no exception! It takes Adrian a couple of holes to remember that he is playing mini-golf with the kids and not the PGA Championship against Tiger Woods. The result was satisfactory to all concerned and we left there and headed back to the hotel for a little 'siesta'...

Day Two - Wednesday
Happy Birthday to Adrian! Only 45 years young today!

We decided to visit Puerto de Mogan today. Twenty years ago, I was asked to visit Mogan and write a description of this new resort for our brochure at the time. I remember coming back and saying that there was nothing there except a port. Absolutely nothing else.

I wanted to go back to see what 20 years of development had done to this little fishing port. It was beautiful. Described as 'Little Venice' by the tourists, this was exactly the image that greeted us as we drove down from Puerto Rico along the coast to this little village. Bridges crossed the sea/river at regular intervals over into the commercial shopping areas and restaurants that surrounded the port itself.

We parked and walked along the port itself where we saw everything from dinghy's to small cruiser's moored in the harbour. One vessel had the laundry hanging from the sails and a pussy cat wandering the decks searching for the best spot to watch the fish swim by.. It was a very picturesque spot, very tranquil and relaxing.

We decided that we would come back again and book ourselves into a hotel situated in the port. It would be the perfect place to relax, eat, relax, drink, relax and sleep. Just the job!

In the evening we enjoyed dinner and a show at "Garbo's". Situated directly next door to the Orquidea, we didn't have far to walk to this venue. Our waiters were also our artists for the evening, and they popped up with their microphones all over the place as the evening progressed. The show was called "Rockin' all Over the World" and featured songs from everyone from David Bowie to Robbie Williams and the Police. The cast was all Swedish and they were all very talented and put on a very professional show. The show took us from Africa to New York, then onto India and eventually Space itself.

The menu was set and was served to us with a smile by our waiter Gustavo. We think he was a new addition to the cast as he seemed very nervous. We shared our table with a Spanish family and as Gustavo spoke only limited Spanish he appointed Chelsea table manager to translate for him. Every time he performed and came back to the table we had to cheer and after the first round of applause Gustavo appointed Thomas his fan-club manager to make sure we made the most noise after each rendition.

Day Three - Thursday
Our day was split into to halves today. Firstly we visited a tiny village called Guayadeque. This small village is famous for having the original caves that the Canarian Guanches used to live in. The unique thing about this village is that the villages still live in the caves today! As we drove along the road you could see the steps that had been cut into the mountainside and the doors of the caves painted green. It was fascinating.

I remembered that a little further along the road there was a wonderful restaurant that was made entirely of caves and so we went to find it. We were not disappointed as it was still there and walking around inside the cave/restaurants it was nice to think that I had been able to bring my children to a restaurant that I had taken my parents to twenty years previously. After we had walked around inside, we sat down and had a plate of tapas and a drink. The tables were polished stone slabs and the seats were covered stone and so Adrian didn't sit in one position for very long, but all in all it was very enjoyable!
The second half of the day we spent in the bowling alley (watching the kids slaughter Adrian at bowling.) It has become somewhat of a family tradition whilst on holiday to find a bowling alley to play a game of bowls..! Thomas managed to bowl by wheeling him to the edge of the lane, then standing up and lobbing the bowl down the alley at an excruciatingly slow pace. Whilst Adrian is a firm believer that speed is the key, Thomas takes the "slow and steady wins the race" stance.

After the game of bowls, we headed off to the north to have a quick look around Las Palmas the capital (or more accurately the shops in the capital) before the trip back to Tenerife.  Unfortunately, Thomas has not managed to pick up any speed on his crutches - obvious really, as he had gotten comfortable in the wheelchair - and so we only managed to look around El Corte Ingles.  A shop which towered 6 storey's high and which was located on BOTH sides of the street, as one shop 6 floors high, obviously couldn't accommodate all it had to offer, and so they had to divide all the goodies into TWO shops!  Shoppers Paradise!  Or at least it would have been for Chelsea and myself (guys just don't get shopping) if we hadn't had Speedy Gonzalez with us. Suffice to say, we shared a few brief moments in ONE shop, before banishing Thomas and Adrian to a bench outside in the sun to 'rest their legs', whilst Chelsea and I tried to make up for lost time, darting in and out of the shops within eye-sight of the guys...  Not ideal, but better than nothing.  After our brief encounter with the shops, we headed to the port where we boarded after not too long a wait, the ferry which would take us homeward bound.

When we arrived into Tenerife's Santa Cruz harbour, it was just getting dark, and we realised that one of my headlights was dead on one side, and the side light on the other side had gone too!  No wonder we thought the roads in Gran Canaria were poorly lit, when we weren't on the Motorway!  Anyone that has visited our fair isle, will know that there are NO LIGHTS on the motorway at all, until you get to our hometown where the local authorities had decided they wanted a well lit municipality (thankfully).  There was much traffic on the roads, as I remembered that tonight was the Julio Iglesias concert.  I had said that I wouldn't have minded going to see him, but when Chelsea found out that Enrique had a father, and that HE was a singer too!  Well, nothing makes you feel older than a teenager who asks you, "Is he still alive?" not having heard of him in the first place.. 

Which reminds me.. If anyone has seen Mamma Mia at the cinema lately, it may have spurned a few of you to dig out that old ABBA Gold album that you know you must have lurking in your collection somewhere.  Me, being me, all our CD's are stored alphabetically (I can't help myself..), so finding my copy was easy peasy.  Chelsea came into the lounge with said album in hand one day, and asks, "Are they all still alive?".  Yep, nothing makes you feel older than a teenager rifling through your CD collection...

For those of you who were watching the news, we were there at the same time as the dreadful Madrid/Las Palmas plane crash at Madrid's Barajas Airport... Awful news right on our doorstep. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of those lives tragically lost in this disaster.

Thanks for stopping by..

Stitches Galore! (Do not scroll down in you're queezy)...

Hi All

Thomas and I have both been in the wars since my last post..

In May I cut my middle finger whilst peeling potatoes and had to have three stitches... It has healed sufficiently for me to go back to card making, but for a long while I couldn't perform at my best and I found the whole experience limiting.

Unfortunately for Thomas, he has also has stitches...
He impaled his right foot on a broken terracotta tile around our community pool and had to have 5 stitches...

He has been on crutches and in a wheelchair (it's really slow going on crutches!!), but for the most part can now put weight on it a little at a time.

Hopefully he will be all better by the time school starts again..

Photos of both injuries :)

Thanks for stopping by..

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Warning all potential parents...

Thinking of Having Kids?

Do this 11 step program first!

Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them o n the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons.
How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van.
And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice).
If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat.

Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice.. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

(Taken from this blog)

Thanks for stopping by..

Sunday, 6 April 2008


This is a picture of Thomas in the 'costume' that he wanted to wear to school for Carnival.
If you haven't guessed already - he went as a tourist and is pointing to the sunburn on his arms!!! Although only simple, he was very pleased with the results, and more importantly, everyone guessed what he was dressed up as! LOL...
Bit late I know, but at least I'm posting!!

Come to think of it, this reminds me of me when I've been to the beach or pool, usually creating the need for copious amounts of aloe vera and aftersun!!

Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Disney On Ice

We recently made it to an 'ice spectacular' presented by Disney called (surprisingly enough) - Disney on Ice..

As we wanted to surprise the kids, we didn't tell them in advance that we were going. We decided to make a weekend of it, and booked ourselves into one of our favourite little hotels in Puerto de la Cruz (the old capital of the island), the Florida.

I took this photo as we approached Santa Cruz - it was a lovely day and the vision of Mount Teide rising above us as we drove along was a sight we shall never get tired of.

As Santa Cruz is notorious for being difficult to manaovre around we took notice of the exit we needed on our way to the hotel, and made mental notes of where to get off the motorway.

We arrived early for the presentation knowing that parking would be a problem, and drove straight into a space not more more than 100 feet from the entrance! Our luck was in tonight!

We found our seats easily enough despite being bombarded with Disney people trying to sell us all sorts of paraphinalia from the show at (in my opinion) over-inflated prices.

I was pleased to discover that we were only two rows from the ice-rink itself. When I booked the tickets on-line the stadium looked like Wembley, but in reality turned out to be a much more intimate affair, whilst still being able to hold a fair capacity for it's size. As we watched people filing in from outside we told ourselves that the late-comers were still probably driving around trying to find somewhere to park, and quiety congratulated ourselves on our good fortune.

The show began and we were not dissappointed. I have always found everything that Disney does to be of the highest quality and this show proved to be no different. I was in awe of the costumes and props that were used, lavish in their design and quality. I felt like I had been transported to Disneyworld itself for the entire time of the performance and probably enjoyed it more than the kids (I never grew up when it comes to Disney!). As I nudged the kids throughout the performance, they must have grown tired of my constantly chirping in with, "This is fantastic isn't it?". They all nodded dutifully so as not to dampen my elevated spirits.

<- The Madhatters Teaparty

The storyline of the show revolved around 'The Incredibles' who were on a family vacation to Disneyworld. Whilst there, their arch enemy (???) kidnaps Mickey and Minnie and holds them ransom. It is up to the Incredible family (with some help from the audience) to rescue them and set them free. Of course, all's well that end's well and a fantastic time was had by all (well me at least).

Unfortunately (not surprisingly) because everyone was skating around, most of my images are blurred, so apologies in advance. I must have spent a good 15 minutes trying to figure out how to adjust the speed on my camera, but realised I was missing the show, and so gave up in favour of snapping as many photos as I could in the hope that a few of them would turn out OK..

<- Mickey and Minnie are saved (honest)

Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, 9 March 2008

New Addition to the Family

Today we picked up the latest addition to our family - a dog. We have been looking for a dog for a while since the sad passing of our last dog Zara last year.

We had wanted to adopt a rescue shelter animal, as there are plenty of dogs on the island in need of a good home, but unfortunately not enough owners to go around.

We had heard about a family who were thinking of letting their dog go on account of the fact that their DS wasn't looking after the animal as perhaps he should. Finally they advised my DH that we could collect the dog and take her home to adopt as our very own.

We were told that she was a German Shepherd, but on looking at her, we think she is a mix of German Shepherd and Husky - what do you think? She has very striking eyes - it's the first thing you notice about her. Her name in Aida and she is eleven months old.

We picked her up today and she is absolutely gorgeous. I took the kids up to meet her and they of course, fell in love with her immediately. Chelsea taught her to stand down (instead of jumping up at you with excitement) and Thomas taught her to give him her paw so she is a quick study.

We look forward to many happy years with her

Thanks for stopping by...