Monthly Milestones – July

PhotobucketJust a couple of monthly milestones this month really. You may remember in last months post I was a big tease and left you on tenterhooks. Well, I can now reveal that my big achievement this month was actually playing in public as part of the Derby Hospitals Band. The original plan was to play my saxophone, but due to an excess of loud, noisy sax’s, and fewer sweet, quiet flutes than originally expected, I ended up transferring to my flute a mere 2 weeks before the performance. This meant that after spending several months practicing the sax part, I then had to re-learn the entire set for the flute. I can tell you, this month has been the first time for a decade and a half that I’ve played my flute every day!
20110731-092417.jpgThe event was at a local gala, and we were fundraising for the hospital. The weather held out thankfully, and we played two sets. Both went really well, the audience seemed to enjoy it, and we ended up raising over £175, which was fantastic.
This was the first time I’ve played in public since I left school (in 1996!), and I admit, I was a bit nervous. We are mostly all lapsed or new players in the band, and we only formed back in January, so I think a lot of us felt the same way. I’m really proud that we all worked so hard on the music, and played so well together. We have another ‘gig’ coming up in September, and I’m already looking forward to it!


My other milestone this month re-visits something I mentioned in my very first Monthly Milestone post back in April. I was aiming to do more exercise, something that I’m ashamed to say I haven’t kept up at all. However, this month I have gone out on the bike a few times (and even managed to get up the evil hill without stopping!). But the biggest exercise related achievement came last Monday when we went out as a family to Carsington Water, a local reservoir, and the closest Derbyshire can come to a seaside walk! We chose to do the ‘strenuous walk’. There was no further information available as to distance or timescale, so we thought, ‘yeah, 2 hours in the car park should be enough’.20110731-202330.jpg
2 hours 20 minutes, and NINE MILES later, we concluded that we’d probably made the wrong decision. Still, we had a nice family walk (well, ok, Isaac was on his bike), and thankfully we didn’t get a parking ticket either.
I think the two low points of the walk were the two signposts that we came across. The first was when we were convinced we were ‘at least halfway’, which read ‘6 miles to visitor centre’. The second, a similar situation. My hubby kept saying, ‘well, we can see it, it can’t be more than a mile’. When we came across a signpost he stood in front of it and said to me ‘just…. don’t look at it’. It turned out to say 3.5 miles to go. By the end, I was exhausted. Isaac however was still raring to go and even climbed up the walls in the car park.

I can’t remember the last time (if at all!) I have ever walked so far for ‘pleasure’. As I was also wearing my toning trainers I spent the next couple of days in agony, walking like an idiot, barely able to get up the stairs. Still, with a bit of luck it’s done me some good, and will hopefully mean that next time I do some exercise I will be just a little bit fitter.



Monthly Milestones – June


This my third Monthly Milestone post, and I feel I don’t have a great deal to say this month. But hey-ho, here goes.

At the start of the month I received my City & Guilds Certificate for work – I passed the course last month, but actually received the written proof this month! I guess this draws a line under my recent study, so now maybe I need to find some time and start something else!

As you’re probably aware, I’m a member of Swap-Bot, a swapping website. I’ve been doing mainly craft swaps, but this month I’m hosting my very first swap – an email swap for healthy recipes. The swap starts tomorrow, so I’m hoping that pretty soon I’m going to have some more nice recipes to add my currently pretty poor repertoire.

This month I also hosted my first blog giveaway, again part of a Swap-Bot swap. The prize was an ATC that I made from Swap-Bot goodies. The lucky winner hasn’t actually received the ATC yet, as unfortunately she lives in Canada, which has had a postal strike for most of June. But they’re back up and running now, so her package will be going out in the next few days.

One of the most exciting things that happened this month was being featured as the Craft Blog of the Month on the Brew Drinking Thinkings website. It was totally unexpected, but I do feel I’ve let the side down somewhat by not getting the blog updated anywhere near as much as I’d like. One of my aims for July is to be a bit less sporadic with my posts, and get some regularity to them.

A very random and silly milestone this month was that after several years of trying, I have finally managed to drive my car economically enough to get 400 miles out of a single tank of fuel! Remarkably, I even managed to get to the petrol station without running out of petrol, which I was  very relieved about!

And finally, a very important milestone for my little boy – his 6th birthday. I can hardly believe it. It seems like such a short time ago that he was a tiny baby, totally reliant on me. And now he can make his own sandwiches (with supervision, I might add!), has two adult teeth starting to poke through, and can make an entire Star Wars Lego model on his own. When people say ‘they don’t stay small for long!’ they’re not kidding.

So that’s my milestones this month. Nothing too amazing I’m afraid, but hopefully next month there will be. Actually, all going to plan, there will be a *proper* milestone next month, something quite exciting for me, but I’m going to keep it under my hat for now, and keep you in suspense. Hee hee, I’m such a tease!

Please check out the following blogs: the originator of this wonderful Monthly Milestone meme, The Ex-Pat Bride; and my friends also taking part in the challenge, Stacey and Jay.

Monthly Milestones


Monthly Milestones: May

I have two milestones this month: one big achievement, and one more basic one. My big achievement has been passing my City & Guilds Diploma for work – I am now a qualified Diabetic Retinal Screener and Grader. It’s taken over a year of hard work, and a further 6 months of chasing up the busy clinicians who were supposed to be marking said work (this was arguably harder than actually doing the work in the first place!), but finally it’s done. I just have to wait now for my certificate to arrive in the post – hoorah!

My more basic achievement has been something that many people do every year or more – surviving a family holiday! The last time I went on holiday with more than one generation (apart from visiting family) has to be – gulp – over 15 years ago. Oh my. So I was excited and nervous in equal measure when my mother-in-law first suggested, then booked, a two week family holiday to Florida for 9 of us – two grandparents, their two children with spouses, and three grandchildren, aged 5, 6, and 7. The theory sounds great, but everybody knows what families are like – siblings argue, kids argue, etc etc. I’ve barely been on holiday with my husband, let alone with his entire family before!

But we had an amazing time. Yes there were fireworks (and not just at the Magic Kingdom), but the main thing was that they were in the minority, and the over-riding feelings from the holiday were relaxing, fun and entertaining.

So, my holiday achievements were:

  • Packing for three people for 2 weeks, and only forgetting my son’s sunglasses. This is impressive, I don’t care what you say, I once forgot to pack any T-shirts for him for a 4 day stay at my parents.
  • Not spending all our dollars. I was so stressed about not having enough spending money, but in the end we budgeted so well (ok – were so tight with our money!) that we came home with a fair amount of travellers cheques left over.
  • Getting some fabulous crafty bargains (more on that later!) – in fact, I bought almost a suitcase full of stuff!
  • No-one got sunburnt. My son does have an awesome British-person-sock-tan-line around his ankles though!
  • I tried grits, although no one else did. The verdict? A cross between savoury porridge and semolina. Not great. I ate it all though, but didn’t order it again.
  • I tried root beer, and despite it tasting like dental mouthwash, really liked it.

That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure there must be more, but I’m still jet-lagged despite sleeping for 15 hours last night! Glad I’m not back at work until tomorrow!



Monthly Milestones – April


Monthy milestones is a new meme set up by Sarah at, and bought to my attention by my friend Stacey at who is also joining in.

My milestones this month may not seem like much to some people, but I’m quite surprised, when I actually stop and think, at how much I have actually achieved this month.

My first ‘milestone’, on April 1st in fact (I’ve just checked the date to make sure it was April!) was joining a website called This is a swapping website, mainly for crafts. I have completed a number of swaps this month, and sent and received my first ATC swap, which was very exciting. I’ve also sent and received lots of crafting material and refreshed my ‘stash’, and my inspiration at the same time!

My second milestone was starting this blog. I was encouraged (vociferously) into it by several friends who had their own blogs. It was originally going to be a craft only blog, but I think I’m going to diversify a little, hence this post! I was also ‘encouraged’ to join the A – Z blogging challenge hosted by Arlee at Tossing it Out. Unfortunately I was too late to the party to register properly, but I have duly completed all 26 posts, and I even finished on time, despite starting a week late. I have also taken part in the Silent Sunday meme, hosted by mocha beanie mummy. All this, and I’ve only been blogging for 23 days!


Thirdly, and possibly most importantly, I have done some exercise! I was going to write ‘I have started exercising’, but that implies that it is an ongoing process, and unfortunately, due to previous form, I really cannot guarentee that will happen! However, I acquired a bike from my dad (well, I persuaded him to give me his) just about a week ago, mainly because my husband constantly nags me to exercise. He enjoys cycling, as does my 5 year old son, and I thought it would be a nice way of spending more time together as a family whilst also getting this heart of mine pumping!

My first attempt on the bike was pure comedy. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was about 15, and even then it was just a very brief jaunt round a park. I was somewhat wobbly. I also found turning corners rather tricky. I don’t think I was helped by the fact that the bike is definitely older, and possibly heavier than I am! But still, I persevered (only slightly disheartened that my son was so much better than me!), and decided to take the bike with me when I returned home from visiting my parents. Being a fold-up bike, this made things much easier!

My husband was delighted and amused in equal measure I think when I produced it, and we decided to go out more-or-less straight away for a ride together. We are lucky enough to live close to some lovely country roads that are quiet of traffic, and perfect for cycling on. I did struggle going up one hill, but in my defense it is quite steep. I had to push the bike up about half of it (as did my son). Once we were at the top though it was pretty plain sailing, or so I thought. I don’t think I realised how competitve my son is until I overtook him (he kept stopping and starting going up hills, I wanted to keep my speed!). He took offense to this, and proceeded to perform a frankly outrageous overtaking manoeuvre that ended up with me in a pile of stinging nettles in a ditch at the side of the road. My husband did ask me afterwards why I didn’t just put my feet down and stop. I confess, that didn’t actually occur to me, which was why I looked like a character out of Last of the Summer Wine careering off the road into a hedge. After we’d all recovered and I’d fished the bike out of the ditch we carried on without further incident. We rode a total distance of about 3 miles, and I felt pretty good afterwards (apart from the stinging nettle sting that is!).20110430-212001.jpg

Since then, we have been out on the same route twice, and my son and I have been out together without Daddy, cycling round a local lake. I’m not quite sure how far that was, but I reckon about another 3 miles, although with less hills! We have also been and bought me a cycle helmet, so all three of us wear them as we travel up and down the Derbyshire dales. The big hill that beat me on the first ride beat me again on the second, and third ride too. However, I am proud to say that today I did manage to cycle up it, rather than push the bike. I did have to stop 3 times, and I nearly passed out at the top, but it’s an improvement!

So, the cycling thing, although a bit pathetic by many people’s standards, has been a real milestone for me. I am really not known for physical activity, and get out of breath very quickly. I am not in the least bit fit, which is a shame when my little boy has practically limitless energy and loves going out and being active. I can’t keep up, which is another reason why I really need to tackle the cycling thing with gusto – if I can’t do it for myself, I really should do it for my son, so I have the energy to play with him as much as he deserves.