The top shelf of my wardrobe is full of boxes and albums bursting at the seems with my photographs. They are my treasured possessions which I could not live without. From a young age I owned a camera. It seems like an age ago when my mum would buy me some 110 film and then take it back to the shop to have the pictures processed. Some would be good, others would have heads or other body parts missing, or look like they were taken inside the wardrobe with the door shut! In those days there was no editing before processing, you got exactly what you took. Including the picture of your left toe.
I remember my excitement of one Christmas when I received a Polaroid instant camera. Yes, you took the photo and the picture came out almost instantly. Then you had to wave it around manically until it dried, but it was unsafe to touch the picture for an eternity, so many of mine were marred by fingerprints. The fact that you got to see the photograph so quickly partly made up for the absolute rubbish quality of the print.
The best photos got carefully placed into albums, and the rest stacked into shoe boxes. Sometimes there was a photo worth framing, maybe a special occasion picture that had turned out just right. My framed photo’s formed a gallery on my staircase.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I don’t even own a camera now. Yes, I’ve had digital cameras, but now I’m quite happy with my phone…the quality is actually better than my last camera. The photos are viewed and then either transferred to my laptop or sent immediately to my social networking pages for all to see. Occasionally I’ll upload them and order prints, or maybe create a photobook of a special occasion. There are still a few I like to frame, but I have nowhere near as many printed photo’s from the last 7 years as I have from the past.
If I go out for the day or on holiday I create an online album for my friends, before I would wait for friends to visit and then pass around the little wallets of photos for them to view. How things have changed.

To edit my digital photographs I use a fabulous free online site called PicMonkey  It’s really user friendly. You can most things from cropping and resizing, removing red eye and adding text or frames. I love making collages of my photos.

For storing, sharing and printing photos I use Photobucket
although I’ll go elsewhere for printing if I see a bargain.

I don’t really feel the need for albums anymore, photobooks are a nice alternative. Most places that pring photos will make up a photobook for you. You pick your photos and decide the order you want them. Often you can edit your photos or add frames or text. Then you receive the entire book just how you made it.

A home still needs it’s framed photo’s though and here are a couple of frames that I really like.
The first is a Jumble Collage frame from Next. I love the way the frames are all joined haphazardly, this would look great in my hallway.

Next – Jumble Collage Frame

For the more formal photographs I’d go for this lovely set of four large frames. I love the metallic finish to the wood.

Set of four A4 metallic finish frames

Jelly shoes are made of pvc plastic, which is soft and pliable, easy to wear. They became popular in the early 80s and made comebacks in the late 90s and 2003. Now they are making another comeback as more styles are introduced.
original jelly shoes were cheap and cheerful in an array of colours. Today they are much the same only with much more style. Love them or hate them Jelly Shoes keep bouncing back into our shops (maybe they should be made of rubber next?)
To go back to the 80s, how about these Juju Jellies

For the fashionistas you can purchase a pair of mulberry jelly shoes for £100.

For a wide range of Jellies go to Next

my favourite are these gorgeous silver beaded jelly shoes

My little girl loves these pink heart jellies

and for my little boy, he loves crocodiles

With the Olympics approaching fast and the Queen’s diamond jubilee just a few weeks away it’s time to get patriotic with your red, white and blue.
I’ve been collecting ideas on this theme for our jubilee party and my daughter’s Olympic birthday party.

First up is a gorgeous union jack dress from Next which you could team with these lovely sequined union jack pumps.

Also lovely is this Team GB sequin t-shirt, it’s a must on our shopping list.

My daughter is a big fan of the ribbon twirling gymnasts so we are going to be making some ribbon wands of our own, using red, white and blue ribbon of course.

click image to go to instructions on how to make a ribbon wand

Our medals are likely to be edible, I particularly like the idea of these biscuit medals, so easy to make to.

click image to go to instructions on how to make medals

Such a simple idea is these gorgeous summery red white and blue strawberries. Dip the strawberries half way into melted white chocolate and then dip the ends into blue sugar. (you can buy this in most big supermarkets in the cake decorating isle.)

Finally, for some more ideas on crafts, games, activities and entertaining please visit this fabulous blog, Red Ted Art

Michael Grove and his policy of turning schools into academies.
First I will put my hand up and say this is all new to me, I’ve not really given it much thought before and therefore I probably don’t know all the facts. However, what I have learnt I am angry about.
Two days ago my girls school found out they were to become a ‘forced academy’ They have no choice in the matter or in who will take charge of the school. This is because the school is considered a failing school.
Nothing could be further from the truth. My daughter started at the school in the nursery when the school was at it’s worst. The nursery was popular because it was one of the few in the area that offered full time places, but most of the little ones went on to different primary schools. I decided to keep my girl there because the new head teacher showed a lot of promise and her nursery teacher had become the schools SENCO as well as being her teacher for reception class. She blossomed and the school improved in front of my eyes. I had no worries about sending my younger daughter there a couple of years later, and at present I will be happy to send my baby son there when his time comes. The teachers are great, the school is approachable and you get listened too. I have had endless meetings with teachers and my girl gets all the extra help she needs with her disabilities. As for her school work, she has come along perfectly and is top of her class in most subjects.

So in my eyes the school is obviously not failing, but don’t take my word for it. The last SATS results showed that the school was deemed ‘good’ and the current ones show promise of an ‘outstanding’ So why is it being forced into an academy? Simply because the SATS results they are using are from 2005-2009 which were not so good. The school was brought from the pits of needing special measures, to possibly outstanding in just a few years. Yet, this doesn’t matter to Michael Grove.

The astonishing thing is, the school is not alone in this. It is coming to light that a lot of recently selected schools for forced academy status are actually improving by themselves. Could this be a ply? Think how good it will look for Michael Grove when it is shown that the academies are doing so much better than the schools where, when actually they were doing it all by themselves anyway. What happens a few more years down the line when the academies fail? It will probably be blamed on the area, the parents, the society in which the school is located. It couldn’t possible be because of being turned into an academy, could it!

Our schools head doesn’t want to take this lying down, although from records it can be seen that Michael Grove cannot be fought. His plan is to combine with two other local schools and become an academy with them; this way he regains some control over the school rather than have it taken over by some company. Will he succeed? I don’t know but I will back him all the way. There has to be some way to fight this.

3ChildrenandIt

submitted to 3 Children and It’s Oldies but Goldies, and now I’ve seen this I realise that maybe it’s time for an update. The school has had another Ofstead Report, a few other schools in the area have won their fights against forced Academy status, and our fight is continuing. So an update will be coming shortly.

Congratulations to Victoria and David Beckham on the birth of their daughter Harper Seven, born on 11th July at 7.55am and weighing 7lb 10oz. Welcome to the world baby Harper.

Of course already her name is under much discussion. Some comments from Twitter include, ‘it sounds like half past seven’ ‘at least she’s not named after a fruit’ and ‘when people were talking about Harper Seven, I genuinely thought it was a Dr Who spoiler..’

There are rumours that the name Harper came from a kids tv show, The Wizards of Waverly Place, which is apparently watched by her brothers, or it could be from the author of To Kill a Mocking Bird’ Harper Lee.

The name seven, which is not actually a name but a number (just thought I’d point that out 😉 was probably chosen for a *number* (he he) of reasons, she was born in the 7th month in the 7th hour weighing 7lb and David’s old shirt number was 7. Of course 7 is considered to be a lucky number so maybe they called it her for luck! I would like to know how she’s going to react when she finds out she’s their 4th baby, not their 7th!

My personal opinion – I like the name, I’m not so sure I would have chosen Seven (I could have done for my daughter born 27/07/07) but it does go well with Harper and it is just the middle name (how often do you use other people’s middle names?)I think they could have done a lot worse.