BEDN #15 My Hometown

This is one of the topics I missed over the weekend when we were all poorly. I have decided to do it today as I didn’t feel comfortable with today’s topic of “Favourite Folk”. My favourite folk are my family and I try not to post photos of them on this blog, especially the kiddies as it is not fair to them when they cannot voice an informed decision as to whether they want their picture on the net or not.

Today’s topic, therefore, is My Hometown. I live in the South Wales valleys, in a little village a few miles outside a fairly well known town. I’ll start with a joke….

How do you approach an angry welsh cheese??

Caerphilly 😀

I have to admit I didn’t really get this joke until I was asked to go on a weekend away working with the youth of a church in England somewhere. I now realise that most people outside of Wales pronounces Caerphilly as ‘carefully’. Obviously I got that the joke was meant to be a play on words but knowing how it is  supposed to sound, I didn’t realise that people actually pronounced it carefully. (The joke is much funnier now 😉 )

Anyway…..moving on from the bad joke…..In Caerphilly we have a fantastic castle.



We can boast that our leaning tower leans more that the Leaning Tower of Pisa although whether or not that is something to boast about I’m not sure!

The town itself has been regenerated over the past 10 years or so and now boasts a modern tourist information centre right in the middle of town.


The cenotaph was looking fantastic, despite all the rain we have had, with all the wreaths laid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I actually live a few miles outside Caerphilly and our little valley has recently marked the centenary of the biggest mining disaster in terms of deaths in the country. I blogged about it here.

On the site of the collery there is now a National Mining Memorial Garden which was opened on the anniversary. It commemorates all the miners lost across the country and also lists each one of the 439 miners lost on that fateful morning in October 1913.



Right in the middle of the garden is this fantastic sculpture showing one miner rescuing another. What a fitting tribute.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


I have been so proud of my hometown over the last few weeks. People have pulled together and worked with each other to ensure that this anniversary was not left unmarked. It reminds me of the centenary of the valley celebrations when I was a child.

I wonder if your hometown has ever worked together on a special project? I’d love to hear about it.

BEDN #14 My Workspace

I don’t actually have a dedicated workspace. I work from home and I use my laptop wherever I can find space to be honest. I used to but baby D’s bed now occupies the space where my desk used to be. I do try to use the drop down top of the bureau upstairs as a base as the printer is on the bookshelf next to it along with all my files. You had a glimpse in this post when I told you how I had started re organising the shelves.

They are in desperate need of reorganising as things just kept getting dumped there so I am trying to do a little bit each time I’m up there and I’ve got a spare minute; like when I’m waiting for something to download or print out.

The bureau is also pretty small and once the laptop is in place, there is very little room so papers get everywhere. 😦

Not very conducive to being productive.

So I have a plan. I am going to move all my work upstairs into the attic. It will be a lot of work as I would like all my paperwork (my office if you will) and my sewing stuff up there. I currently sew wherever my machine can go. Tonight I did some sewing on the kiddies’ table.

That can be interesting as my knees don’t fit under the table so working the pedal is a skill in itself!

Ideally I would like a desk where my sewing machine would stay and my laptop could go when I work up there, storage for my fabric, notions etc and of course somewhere for all my files to go. I know this is going to take some time as while I have already claimed a space it currently looks like this:

Oh I am embarrassed just showing you that. :/
I have started sorting and decluttering these boxes but most of them are full of fabric (oh the shame!) so it will be a lengthy task. But I am determined to get there and finally have my own little space that doesn’t encroach on the rest of the house.

What a dream that is!

BEDN #13 World Kindness Day

Oh dear! I missed the weekend of blogging every day in November. We have been a poorly household but I will try to catch up on some of the topics I missed.

Today, however is World Kindness Day. Shame I hadn’t realised beforehand as I would have been a bit more prepared. But I am the most disorganised person I know. I constantly forget things and sit up late the night before doing/making/finishing because I haven’t left myself enough time. 

Anyway today’s post is not about that. I want to tell you about a Random Act Of Kindness I experienced in the summer. Back when it happened I promised myself that I would “pay forward” this RAOK and do someone nice for someone else. I am sad to say I haven’t done that yet. I do try to be kind, I baked cakes for my cousin when she was going through a tough time, I try to ask people how they are and listen to their answer even if i don’t really know them all that well. 

I try to set a good example to little lady in particular. We regularly buy presents at Christmas for children in care, we pack shoeboxes to send abroad (Serbia this year) to children who are not likely to get anything for Christmas. Doing these things make me feel happy. Happy knowing that I can do something, however small, to make someone else’s life a bit easier. Have you seen the Friends episode where Phoebe tries to find a selfless good deed? It’s quite funny but also true as being kind to others usually makes me feel good about myself. 

Every summer there is a big festival held in my local town called the Big Cheese. There are food stalls, craft stalls, medieval reenactments, and a funfair. The funfair is sooo expensive we tend to avoid that. Thankfully little lady has always been easily distracted by the fact the castle is open (and it’s free to get in) so we spend time in there until she forgets. This year, instead of walking in as little lady would actually have to walk it now her brother is in the pram, we used the park and ride. We pulled up to the school, parked our car and started to walk over to where the buses are. As we went to cross the car park a man in a car stopped, rolled down his window and asked if we were on our way to the Big Cheese. Silly question I thought as this is only used as a park and ride for that purpose. After saying yes we were he handed us a little booklet and told us that his son was worn out and they were ours if we wanted them. When I looked the booklet contained tickets for 5 free rides on the funfair. I was gobsmacked. Those rides are £3-5 each. Before I could say thank you they had driven off. Little lady had so much fun on the rides and we didn’t have to pay for them. It really made our day. That family were so kind to give them to us and we didn’t even say a proper thank you. I’m sure, having their own child, they would know how grateful we would have been when we realised what was in the booklet.

I now need to decide what my RAOK is going to be. Any suggestions gratefully received.


BEDN #8 A Day in the Life of

This is the post I was most looking forward to reading on other people’s blogs, mainly because I am nosey but also because I think it’s nice to have a peek into other people’s lives. See how the other half live if you will.

For those who don’t know me, I am a mum to Little Lady who is 6 and baby D who is 2 next week. (EEK!) I work for the Presbyterian Church as a youth worker and I am very lucky that I am able to fit my work around my family life. Little lady is in school full time and baby D goes to a childminder one day a week for me to get planning/paperwork done. Other days I work in the evenings once the kiddies are in bed. Today I was very lucky that he had an extra day at the childminders meaning I had a “free day” and didn’t have to sit down at my desk all day.

Welcome to my day.

Our morning routine is pretty much the same everyday as we need to be out of the house by 8.30am to get Little lady to school on time. My alarm goes off at 7am and I am always tempted to hit the snooze button. However, the days that I do, we are late for school so I can’t.

Morning Routine

Morning Routine

So my alarm goes off, I go down stairs, trying to climb over the stair gate quietly like I’m Catherine Zeta-Jones practicing dodging lasers in that film in a castle with the guy from Silence of the Lambs. I make lunches, have a quick shower and wash my hair. I go back upstairs, get dressed, wake the tribe and make my bed before going back downstairs for breakfasts, hair brushing, teeth cleaning, uniforms etc. Little lady’s school held a Grandparent’s day today so she could wear what she wanted (she chose her tinkerbell trainers) and my mum came down to take her to school so I didn’t need to do the school run this morning. 😀

Once everyone was out of the house I did a bit of housework and went down the garden to check on the plants and water the greenhouse. I was gutted to see that the wind has well and truly ripped the plastic cover. The door is pretty much hanging off. I may well need to relocate the plants that are still in there and put it down before buying a new one next year. Unfortunately buying a new greenhouse will be cheaper than just replacing the cover.


Housework and greenhouse

After a quick cup of tea I got in the car and drove to the cancer hospital in Cardiff. I am running 10k a week Sunday raising money for men’s cancers and my sponsorship money will go to this hospital who were fabulous when my dad died there almost 20 years ago. In return they offered me a free t shirt to run in. Never one to say no to a freebie this was well worth the trip.

Velindre Cancer Hospital

Velindre Cancer Hospital

Here is me wearing my new t shirt. It took me ages to get a decent selfie. How do other people get a good picture without looking like a muppet? Answers on a postcard please. I do like the t shirt though.

In two weeks time I am, along with a group of others, taking the real Christmas story into local schools and I had been emailed the script I need to learn and the running order. As I had a bit of time today I decided to go upstairs to my office…*cough..the spare room…cough*…. and print them out.

Work and organising

Work and organising

While I was up there I decided I would do some organising and decluttering. The empty shelves you see in the picture? They are DVD racks that we never use. After raiding hubby’s tool box I found an allen key and took two out of the three apart and put them ready to go out/up in the attic. Whichever seems easiest at the time. We also have a big bookcase in the other alcove and I organised the shelves so that they look tidier, I can see what I need more easily, and it meant the floor is clearer now as all those books you see (and more) were in a pile on the floor (oops).

While I was busy upstairs I managed to fit in some step aerobics thanks to the postman and parcel force. Two deliveries at separate times although I didn’t mind too much as they are exciting parcels.

Exciting things

Exciting things

The one on the left is hubby’s birthday present and the one on the right contains 40 advent calenders for the youth at church.

I leave the house just after 3pm to pick up Little lady from school. It has rained for 2 days now so the walk was a bit muddy to say the least.

Muddy school run and overflowing river

Muddy school run and overflowing river

The river we cross was very high too!

Little lady collected from school, then on to collect baby D from the childminder before coming home for some playing time (them not me 😦 ) while I made tea. We had a lazy evening with no bath before bed. This happens most Friday nights as both usually have one on a Saturday morning anyway.

6.30pm starts bedtime routine and both kiddies are in their pyjamas. Little lady gets a choice of watching a short DVD, something on YouTube, or quiet play while I put baby D to bed and then once he is asleep, she goes up for a bedtime story. 

Bedtime bliss

Bedtime bliss

How cute are they? Some days this is my favourite time of the day. Now to enjoy some me time before hubby gets home from work.

Sleep tight my lovelies. Mammy loves you both millions and millions x

BEDN #7 10 Things

I do love lists so this topic is a good one for me. After yesterday’s post, I want to do a more positive one so today’s 10 things are going to be 10 things I am thankful for.

1. My family. They are EVERYTHING

2. My faith. I count myself lucky that I have such a strong faith. I know others may not appreciate the value of faith but to me it is such a comfort knowing I have someone who watches over me.

3. Our house. It may not be perfect but it is our home and we are lucky to have a house of our own.

4. My job. I am very lucky that I have a job which means I can work around my kiddies. I can be at home with them when I need to and I can take them to work with me if and when I need to.

5. Our garden. Again it’s not perfect. I would love a bigger garden with more room for the kids to play and more room to grow veg but what we have is serving us well on both accounts and we are very lucky to have any kind of outside space. 

6. The ability to sew. I haven’t always appreciated this skill but I have started to gain confidence in my ability again. I am falling in love with sewing all over again and it’s nice.

7. Quality time with hubby. Since having kiddies it has become so easy to fall into a routine whereby we don’t spend time together just the 2 of us. So I love it when the kiddies are in bed and hubby and I can just relax and spend time together as husband and wife. Even if this means cwtching on the settee together while we watch a DVD.

8. Good health. I am very thankful that all 4 of us enjoy good health. Baby D is full of a cold at the moment and we are both finding it hard while he is poorly but in general we are all very lucky.

9. Clean water and plenty of food to eat. I do sometimes complain when we have a tight month and we have to be creative with what food we have in the cupboards/freezer but thankfully we have never been in a situation where we have been starving.

10. We have a comfortable life. We don’t have lots of money – far from it but we have food, we have a warm house, we have each other and for this I am eternally grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

BEDN #6 National Stress Awareness Day

Well what an apt start to National Stress Awareness day! Baby D didn’t sleep much last night which meant neither did I. He was grumpy due to being tired, he has a cold and a cough so is also feeling sorry for himself. Little lady was on a go-slow this morning and to top it off I had a lot to do today so wanted to be out of the door in time to get back from the school run to sort everything out before I had to go out again.

As it happened baby D cried at everything, little lady kept telling me that her brother was crying (as if I didn’t know), we ran out of butter for sandwiches and I couldn’t find any money for fruit!

By the time we stepped out of the door we were late for school so I had to take the car, I bundled a still crying toddler into the car to a repeat chorus of “mam, he’s still crying!” We got to school and to avoid setting baby D off crying again I decided not to get him out of the car. This meant letting little lady go into school by herself. Now I know this sounds stupid but I like to take her to the door, or at least to within 10feet of the door so I know she has gone in okay. Today in an already stressed state in a choice between a crying baby or letting a 6year old go to school by herself (that’s how it felt to me) I had to let little lady walk across the yard and around the corner by herself. This may not sound much but to me it was HUGE!! I felt like crying!

This morning I dealt with the stress by putting it to the back of my mind as I had so much to do I didn’t have time to sit in the car and cry! This isn’t usually how I deal with stress, however, usually I tend to deal with stress by eating, crying and/or telling myself how rubbish I am at everything. Beating myself up mentally and listing all my shortcomings are definitely the main ways I react to stress. It also has something to do with the extra stone I’m carrying around my middle. Hubby tells me that I shouldn’t worry as much but I can’t help it. Even when everything is fine I still find myself worrying that something will happen or go wrong.

Am I the only one who does this or does anyone else worry constantly?

BEDN #5 Woodland Wedding

Today’s topic is supposed to be Bonfire Night but due to the storms on the weekend we didn’t go to the firework display at the Castle like we normally do. We have been invited to another firework display but that isn’t until the weekend which will be a bit late for this post, so I’m going off topic today and I’m going to tell you about the fantastic time we had at the end of last month when we were lucky enough to be invited to a woodland wedding.

The beautiful Fay got married in a beautiful forest in Scotland.

We had never been as far north as Scotland before so we were very excited to see this sign

We took a detour to make sure we crossed the Forth road bridge

As for the actual wedding itself we were asked to come dressed in wellies.

And little lady went dressed as a woodland fairy

The forest was beautiful and hubby was pleased as just after the ceremony he met some kayakers about to get in the water behind us


We had a fantastic time and I haven’t really shown you the best photos yet as they are still on my camera’s memory card! These are just ones I took with my phone. Why not pop over to Fay’s blog or Robyn’s blog to see much better photos?

I’ll be back on topic tomorrow.

BEDN #4 Food glorious Food

Food is the main topic of conversation here in the lifetimeofdiy household at the moment. Hubby and I are trying to lose weight so we are counting point values of food. I am struggling if I’m honest because I’m a snacker and I prefer to eat little and often rather than sit down for a meal. Unfortunately I’ve found that what I snack on have quite high point values so I am trying to eat proper meals which are being bulked out by veg as the first week I felt hungry all the time.

Last week it was slightly easier. Probably because I was starting to get used to eating differently but also because I was given a huge pumpkin from my step dad’s allotment. It made pumpkin pie which was quite high in points (double cream in the pie and whipped cream on the side ahem!) but the pumpkin was so big it also made gallons of soup. I froze some but there is only so much pumpkin soup we can eat so we gave some to my parents. Only fair really as the pumpkin came from them in the first place.

This Sunday we went to my parents for Sunday dinner and my mum gave me soup she had made from leftover veg as a swap for the pumpkin soup. It was so nice we decided to make our own. We made carrot and swede soup as that was what we had and this is how we made it:

Chop a small onion (ours was home grown) and put in a big pan with a blob of butter (that’s a technical term you know 😉 )
Fry gently for about 5minutes then put 2 chopped carrots (also home grown yay!) and a chopped up small swede (shop bought sorry) in the pan.
Add enough stock to cover the veg and simmer for about 20minutes (until the veg is soft)
Allow to cool then blend.

We divided it up into single portions and frozen some. Yummy on a chilly autumn evening. And the best part – it’s all veg so no point value 😀


BEDN #3 – Light

It’s only day 3 and I’m already struggling with what to write about. Surely that’s not a good sign?

I toyed with a lot of different things I could try to tie in with the light theme. Hubby and I made our own lampshade for a vintage lamp stand we were given but to be honest it’s not stiff enough so it sags slightly in the centre and until I sort it out properly it doesn’t look quite right. I thought about maybe mentioning how I’ve been trying really hard on my diet this week and after weighing this morning I am 2lbs lighter geddit?? But that just sounds a bit lame.

I know that no one expects a long and detailed post every day but I kind of set myself up for that when I signed up for BEDN. I think having this block so early on may have actually been good for me to realise that if I am going to do this challenge then I need to be realistic. The aim is to get into the habit of posting more often than I do now (which isn’t really that often. I started looking through my photos hoping that one of them would spark something and it did! Yay!

I found this lovely photo I took while out running a couple of months ago. I was running up this quiet stretch of road and when I turned the corner and the trees parted I was faced with the most gorgeous evening sky I have ever seen. I actually stopped and took a picture it was that amazing. Ladies and gents I leave you with “Fading light”


BEDN #2 Something I’ve made

Day 2 and this was actually something I was planning on blogging about anyway so didn’t take too much thought.

Thursday (as I’m sure most of you are aware) was Halloween. As Christians we don’t actually celebrate Halloween but it has become so mainstream now that it is hard to get away from all the parties and the trick or treating going on. It isn’t really fair for the kiddies to have to miss out especially when there are sweets and parties going on! So for the last few years a number of churches in town have got together to hold a Hallelujah party on the same night meaning that the kids still get to dress up and go to a party (and have lots of sweets 😉 ) without having to get involved with all the Halloweeny stuff.

Little lady decided she was going to go as an angel but changed her mind at the last minute and went as a beautiful ballerina instead. Both hubby and baby D went as Superman after I bought them both (yes that’s right – both of them) Superman pyjamas!! Baby D had a detachable cape on his too! He looked so cute and scrummy!

That just left me. I raided my fabric stash and found some lovely fabric that I had bought months ago but never got round to using. Thursday morning I got out my sewing machine and set to work. I used a pattern I had made for myself back last year, a zip and lining material from my stash and two hours later I had a finished dress. The neckline isn’t quite right but didn’t look too bad after I put a long sleeved top on underneath (it was cold and the dress was sleeveless). In hindsight I think I need to re-jig the pattern slightly and I do wonder if the dress would have looked better if I had bound the armholes with black bias binding to give it a bolder edge.

Even with these issues I felt comfortable in the dress and would definitely wear it again. I didn’t even mind when people asked if it was handmade so I may have actually learnt something from my life lesson. I even feel better about posting the photo. Okay I have left it til the end as I am not completely confident yet but I’m not dreading it either. So here it is – something I made.