Thursday, 31 July 2014

July Happiness

Five things which made me smile this month...
1. Actually managing to pull off a surprise 70th birthday party for the mother in law - complete with a vintage vehicle display, fairground organ, 120 guests and a hog roast - and she had no idea!
Vintage vehicle display
2. A lovely day out in Weymouth with Andrew.
Weymouth deckchairs
3. Discovering how awesome Grillstock is! There'll be a proper blog post about it next week. :-)
4. Spending a day playing our friend's 1896 fairground organ at a steam rally in Somerset. I don't know why I like it really, it's just really good fun feeding books of music through the organ!
Books of fairground organ music
5. Ringing up our fertility clinic to book in for our next bit of IVF treatment. Even though the actual embryo transfer bit won't be til the end of September you have to get started with drugs and tests about 6-8 weeks before. My next thing is the delightfully named endometrial scratch (which, if you know what your endometrium is, the procedure is exactly what it says on the tin!)
What little things made you happy this month?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Here Is The News #4

Here is the News

Blogland Brilliance

Alice made the most amazing Four Layer Chocolate Ombre Cake

Angela crafted a gorgeous summer wreath with some top tips for making your own.

Lily went to a steampunk wedding and had fun making some fabulous accessories for her outfit (I think we definitely need to see pics of Lily's whole outfit though!)

Em stumbled across this list from The Telegraph - The 50 Signs You Are A Grown-Up - I'm not sure whether it's a good or bad thing that me and Andrew together can tick off 38 of them!

Currently Coveting

A trip to this spectacular underground trampolining centre - Bounce Below - based in an old slate mine in North Wales. It's like a giant soft play area for adults!

A Tunnocks teacake!

Exciting Events

Cool steam rallies this weekend include the Torbay Steam Rally, the Gloucestershire Steam and Vintage Extravaganza and the West Somerset Railway Steam Fayre and Vintage Vehicle Rally.

Carters Steam Fair rolled into town last night at Bath's Royal Victoria Park, they're open from 2nd August to 10th August.

The Frome Independent Market takes place this Sunday and this month it's themed to the seaside, calling it 'Frome-on-Sea'!

Have you spotted anything interesting this week?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Birthday Girl - 70 Years Young

Back in 2010 me, Andrew and my sister in law organised a surprise 70th birthday party for my father in law. We invited 350 people (of which about 150 came) and it took place at a fairground museum in Devon. It all went amazingly well, he had no idea at all and afterwards we all said 'we're never planning anything like that again'.
So fast forward 4 years and surprise surprise, we did it all over again spending the last 6 months lying, planning and concocting stories for the mother in law's 70th birthday. We held the party at a local social club, invited 300 people (of which 120 came) and had a display of four vintage Scammell lorries (one of them Andrew's), one Ford Prefect car, one steam engine, one miniature steam engine and an 1896 fairground organ.
So just a small do then!
Vintage vehicle display

70th birthday party

70th birthday party

Me playing the fairground organ

Steam engine

Playing skittles

Scammell lorry display

1896 fairground organ

Cake cutting


Steam engines in a field

Father and mother in law
We were convinced she must have suspected something but apparently not, she just blindly believed every word we said.
We have said now though, they've both had a surprise party so there is absolutely no way, no way at all, they are never ever having one ever again!
Have you ever planned any surprise parties?
They're a great idea at the time but the final week is nail-bitingly awful!

Monday, 28 July 2014

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Celebrating - mother-in-law's 70th birthday (the actual day was the 21st) with a big suprise party for 120 people at a local social club. We've been planning it for 6 months and I think it was probably one of the best-kept secrets in our local town.
We were convinced she'd cottoned on to what was happening but nope, apprarently she had no idea at all!
70th birthday balloons
Arranging - three cheap bouquets of flowers into one large colourful bunch. Andrew did a little speech and we presented them to her just before she cut her cake.
Flower bouquet
Making - a photo display of all 70 years of her life. We put the frames out in the hall so people could take a nosy during the day.
70th birthday photo display
Hiding - my sister-in-law at our house with her car parked half a mile away at a friend's house. Of course, as far as Andrew's mum was concerned, my sister-in-law was at home in Cornwall.
Blowing - up what seemed like hundred of balloons (it was actually 80) ready to be waved and played with at the party.
Lying - left, right and centre, making up all sorts of stories to put mother-in-law off the truth.
Decorating - a local social club with balloons, banners and bunting.
Hall decorated for 70th birthday party
Displaying - four Scammell lorries, one vintage car, a traction engine, a miniature steam engine and a fairground organ. We all stood in front of everything with balloons and banners and that was what greeted Andrew's mum when she arrived at the hall car park!
Scammell lorry and engine display
Neglecting - this 'ere blog! A week of frantic preparations and rushing around meant that a couple of posts I'd planned to publish at the end of last week are still sat in the 'drafts' pile. Once we've recoved from yesterday, I'll try and get back on track. :-)
What did you get up to at the weekend?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

52 Lists - Things You Want To Be Remembered For

Knowing a lot of random stuff
Being organised
Making people laugh
Baking tasty cakes
Not giving up
What would you like to be remembered for?

This post is part of Ema's (Made in Hunters) 52 Lists Project
For a full list of all the other lovely bloggy people taking part, visit Scarlett's site (WorkRestPlayLove) for a nosy!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Here Is The News #3

Here is the News

Blogland Brilliance

Potato, Cheese and Ham Croquettes anyone?

Michelle's got the perfect few lines to cheer yourself up.

Bee offers some great tips on how to become an avid reader.

Bonjour Blogger has the solution for getting your Instagram pictures showing on Twitter. I didn't even know you could do this but I'm going to set my recipe up tonight!

Angela went strawberry picking at Chosen Hill Farm, with the most plump and juicy looking strawberries you'll ever see!

Currently Coveting

Courtesy of Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert site, Gourmet Burger Kitchen are offering two burgers for 10 squid - click here for the voucher.

I really like this Potting Shed Birds duvet set from Asda; have to convince Andrew first though that "no we really don't have too many bedding sets".

Joe Brown's sale leaflet popped through my door the other day, forcing me to purchase this unseasonal jumper.

And El from A Thrifty Mrs compiled list of gorgeous winter coats, one of which I went on and bought (number 5 but in red).

Exciting Events

Weston Super Mare's annual sand sculpture festival is on at the moment and this year's theme is 'Once Upon A Time'. I managed to get a couple of cheap tickets through Living Social so we're planning to head off there one afternoon next week.

Lauren from The Emerald Dove is organising a South West Bloggers Picnic in Exeter on Saturday 30th August. I can't make that date but I bet it will be a lovely day!

Interesting Info

This story from the BBC is quite fascinating - the Cornish beaches where Lego keeps washing up.
Remind me to keep an eye out next time we go to Cornwall.

Did you read Goosebumps books when you were younger? There's a film being made with Jack Black playing author, R.L. Stine - the first pictures were released last week.

London's first games cafe has opened in Hackney with 500 tabletop games to play. I think it's a fab idea, if any of you go there, let me know what it's like!

Life Lessons

I quite like this hair tutorial from Kiss and Make Up; she does make it look incredibly easy. I gave it a go at the weekend and ended looking a bit like a soggy spaniel - methinks I need to practice a little bit more...

Alice put together a brilliant list of 'alternative things women need to know' - definitely a list of things we could all do to remember.

Have you spotted anything interesting this week?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Photo Every Hour - Saturday 19th July

Last Saturday was Jane's (from Is That You Darling) photo an hour challenge for July. I'm quite chuffed I've managed to do it every month so far and I'm certainly planning to do it the rest of the year (regardless of whether my day is boring or interesting!).

I'd say the 19th July was one of the more interesting ones...

8am - Up bright and early with a packed breakfast ready to take with us out for the day.
Breakfast on the go

9am - On our way through the roads of Somerset down to the steam rally.
Driving through Somerset

10am - The rally opened at 10 but the amusement arcade was still closed as the people running it (my in laws) were still having their breakfast!
Closed up amusement arcade

11am - The organ is opened and ready for business.
Fairground organ

12pm - We get started playing some books of music, most of which are covered in gorgeous writing like this.
Fairground music

1pm - Choosing what to play next!
Books of music for the fairground organ

2pm - There's a little door just to the side of where we play the music, if we open the door, this is what we see...
Fairground organ

3pm - Still here, playing music.
Playing organ music

4pm - Yay, a break! My sister in law took over while me and Andrew went off in search of tea and cake.

5pm - Off to a local pub for a vintage vehicle road run. This was our method of transport - a 1948 Scammell Showtrac.
1948 Scammell Showtrac

6pm - Just a few people at the pub for the gathering!
Pub gathering

7pm - On our way home back to the steam rally site.
Scammell leaving the local pub

8pm - Time for dinner, the beer tent on site was doing a good line in cottage pie and veg which was very tasty!
Cottage pie

9pm - Back in the organ playing music again and watching the sun set over the field.
Sunset over the steam rally

10pm - This hymn is always stuck up inside the organ. It's 'God Be With You Till We Meet Again' aka. the 'Showman's Hymn' and it's always the last song played on the organ at the end of each night.
God be with you lyrics

11pm - Almost home!
Driving home

12pm - The last thing before bed - a cup of tea and the last few chapters of my current book.
Book and tea


Pop over to Jane's blog to see the date for August's challenge!

Monday, 21 July 2014

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Visiting - a small steam rally down in Langport in Somerset where one of our friends had a couple of vintage lorries, a 1890s fairground organ, a traction engine and an amusement arcade on display at the show. We were tasked with looking after the fairground organ all day.
Sunset over the steam rally
1890s fairground organ
Playing - lots of books of music on the organ. We started about 11am and between me, Andrew and his sister we played choons til 10pm, only stopping for a couple of hours at 5pm for a trip to a local pub.
Playing fairground organ music
Wishing - Andrew's mum a very happy birthday. She turns 70 today and Andrew's sister made her a chocolate cake to have on Saturday at the steam rally (which turned into a very gooey and sticky cake in the heat).
70th birthday cake
Participating - in Jane's photo an hour challenge for July. Round-up to follow tomorrow!
Enjoying - the company of two of our friends and their energetic (but entertaining) small children. The older one (at 4 years) had a whale of a time weeding our patio, which naturally we were very pleased about!
What did you get up to at the weekend?

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