Monday, 29 September 2014

Going Sober for October (along with giving up sweets, cake & treats too!)

Now I know the going sober for October is usually done to raise funds for Macmillan, however, as both myself and The Dave regularly give donations to Macmillan and other cancer charities in memory of both our mothers who died from cancer we decided to alter it a little and raise money for our daughters and other sufferers who have M.E. instead. Our aim is to raise vital funds towards much needed research projects being carried out by Invest in ME Research

This is going to be a tough challenge for me as I have an awful sweet tooth so will have to ensure that the fruit bowl is piled high with a variety of "safe" options for when the sweet cravings hit. Also, although tend to react to alcohol, I have found I have two types of alcohol my body will allow me to enjoy on occasion which are the odd weak vodka with lots of tonic or cheeky glass of red wine. So although I don't imbibe too often or heavily I am partial to the odd snifter and so will miss it too.  

So, to keep me focused I have placed a countdown chart on my fridge and after each day shall enjoy the satisfaction of making a heavy red cross over each day completed as I go to bed.

I shall be enduring this challenge alone, which means I will be continuing to bake dairy free goodies for my family and then having to distract myself whilst they enjoy them without me. Mind you ~ I shall enjoy having a treat on that first day of November once my challenge is complete and have already planned to bake a chocolate cherry cake to celebrate with!

I have just completed our fundraising page via justgiving and have made it a family page as we won't be stopping after October. In November Dave will be taking part in his twist of Movember ~ again adapting it to raise funds for ME research, so we will use the same fundraising page. Also next year we do the walk for ME as a family and again will use the same page.

So if you are interested in following the link and either sharing it around or making a donation then please feel free to find it here.

Tonight I shall mostly be eating cake ~ and tomorrow too until midnight!
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

September Favourites

September is almost over, so here are a few of my favourites from this month...

Looking in the diary I cannot believe we heading straight for the last quarter of this year. It made me think about diaries for 2015, I am greedy and have two ~ one I keep in the kitchen so I have it to hand at all times when at home, the other I keep in the form of a A5 filofax which is kept in my handbag ready to whip out when in appointments for either myself or the girls, so I can be efficient booking the next session without clashing with anything else. 

So ~ which diary do I buy for 2015? I umm'd and ahh'd for some time, do I go practical large A4 week to view boring diary, small slim one, hanging picture month to view?  Nope ~ none of the above, instead I plumped for the fabulous Terry Pratchett 2015 Discworld Diary & it's theme is Igors ~ I have to say it is utterly brilliant and makes me grin every time I look at it and have to open it up to write something in (and yes, I already have written in appointments made for 2015!).

This month has been mostly about myself and The Dave focusing on work ~ a tricky business when suffering from insomnia, but somehow I have blearily managed to open up another shop via storenvy, I won't tell you all about the shop here (if you are interested though you can read about it via this link).  I have also ordered in a little more stock, dipping into gifts and small novelty items. Now I adore all things created from Himalayan Salt, both Tasha and Tara spend an awful lot of time in their bedrooms so I invested in some very lovely Salt Lamps which are beautiful and give off such warm low glow.  So when browsing through the wholesale catalogue I found these gorgeous Himalayan Salt Tea-Light holders and Heart Shaped Himalayan Soap / Deodorant bars. The are really lovely and I have kept myself some for personal use and put what's left in my shop.

I also decided I needed some new business cards, just the one card for both the business as I'm not wanting to have two different ones for my different shops.  As money is tight. I had to do some searching and came upon a site you may have heard of called Vistaprint, which is very reasonably priced and they offer you the option of designing your own double sided business card ~ which is perfect for my needs. So after a little messing about on publisher (I don't possess any sophisticated software so make do with what I have) I came up with my designs. THEY ARRIVED today ~ nervously opening the box I worried about how they would look but am thrilled to say they are thick, glossy and perfect - the photo doesn't really do it justice as the Planet Zivo isn't as dark as it looks in this picture ~ but here it is showing both sides...

You may remember from a much earlier blog that I lamented about living with a partner who snores, loudly, like a fog horn, all night long!! Well, we found a FANTASTIC (capitals to underline it's awesomeness) solution to The Daves snoring ~ it's called a Sleepguard Mouthpiece and works a little like a retainer (if you have had any dental work you know what I mean) if not here is a picture of it...

With it are instructions of how you mould it to your teeth and then hey presto ~ pop it in at night and the snoring blissfully stops or it did. UNTIL, Loki our delightful Jack Russell/Pug puppy, decided that he would jump onto the bed, climb onto the bedside table and chew The Daves mouthguard! Uggh, noooo! So sadly I have had to take myself down to the sofa every night in order to get any rest and left The Dave upstairs with the dogs, snoring his head off shaking the walls and house foundations whilst we awaited the replacement to arrive in the post. Thankfully the replacement has arrived this afternoon which means tonight I can look forward to sleeping back in my own bed beside a none-snoring sleepguard wearing hubby - phew!

Finally, we managed to take Tara for her belated birthday trip to Twycross Zoo (her birthday was only in February). We went to the Safari Park the previous month with Tasha for her belated birthday trip and so were pleased to finally make it with Tara. Keisha had already organised to have a driving lesson on the day we were going and wasn't too bothered about coming with us as she had been with friends not so long ago. Keisha and Jack stayed with the dogs and we packed Tasha, Tara and the two wheelchairs into the car to go and see the monkeys. Now I know there are people who feel Zoo's are cruel places, but Twycross Zoo are very proactive in caring for wildlife; this is from their website.

“We unfortunately live in a world where many species of both plants and animals are on the brink of extinction....We currently have around 150 species, many of which are enrolled in conservation breeding programmes, and we contribute to conservation in the wild through our Conservation Welfare Fund.  We also support field projects through our expertise in the health and welfare of animals and by raising public awareness of their plight in the wild. We breed a wide range of endangered species and are members of European and international organisations” To find out more, explore the conservation section here

The girls had a fabulous time just quietly watching the different monkeys, here are just a few photos to share with you.

So there you go, these are my rather random September favourites ~ I wonder what October will bring?

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Animal love

We are a family of animal lovers ~ given half a chance we would have our own zoo. However the reality just isn't practical so we make do with visiting Safari Parks, Zoo's and Pet Shops when we can.

My second born daughter has been feeling pretty rubbish and down because her ME is really restricting her from doing very much at all. So ~ how to cheer her up? We decided on a short trip out, we hopped into the car, Tasha still with slippers on! It was only a short distance to go and we were very fortunate in being able to get parked in the disabled bay right outside the front door of the pet shop, which meant we could leave the wheelchair in the boot.  Once in the shop we asked ever so very nicely if they would allow her to cuddle a Chinchilla as she LOVES them and has never held one. The staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating and so Tasha had her wish and had a big long cuddle with one of the two they had in the shop.

We are planning a trip to Twycross Zoo hopefully within the next two weeks (so long as the girls are well enough to go) so that they can get their fill of seeing monkeys which were sadly lacking at the Safari Park.

I though I would close this short blog with a video clip of our three young dogs, Taylor (4 years old), Skyla Minx (3 years old) and Loki (1 year old) who like to serenade my return with a harmonious howling chorus, the minute they hear the car pull onto the drive they start and don't stop until they hear the key turn in the lock. It makes me smile every time I come home and hear them as I approach our front door.  Hope it makes you smile too...
Note how Taylor (top of the stairs) and Loki (middle of the stairs) throw back their heads as they get into full howl mode, Skyla Minx however is a little more restrained.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Photographs for Charity

Every year the charity Let's Do it For ME ask for us ordinary folk to submit entries into their competition to have our photographs transformed into their Charity Christmas Cards.  Sadly last year none of our photographs made the cut.  Not to be deterred we tried again this year.

Tasha loves photography but hasn't been able to take many photographs recently due to her ME being severe at the moment. However, a few weeks ago we spent two days arranging glass beads, coffee beans, tea-lights and Christmas decorations to create three sets for our images.  We then took hundreds of photographs of these "sets" over two nights (we had to wait until it was dark to try and get the flame of the candles to really show up).  As you can imagine this took a huge amount of energy for Tasha to do this but we are thrilled with our results.

The competition is now in the voting stage, all images have to be voted for - those with the highest votes go through (I am unsure at this point whether there is then a short list and another round of voting or if this is the first and final vote for the successful images).

Both myself and Tasha share the same middle name "Marguerita" which was also my mothers name.  We felt it fitting that we enter the competition under the name Marguerita Mawer as a tribute to mum as December holds the anniversary of her birthday, death, funeral and wedding anniversary (so a tough month to negotiate). We are hoping with a little luck and a huge amount of support from anyone who feels compelled to vote for our entries, that at least one of our images will make the cut and be transformed into a Charity Christmas Card for us to then buy and send out this year to celebrate mums memory whilst also raising funds for a charity we a passionate about.

These are our entries

If you would like to help us to achieve our wish and have these images (or at least one of them) made into a Let's Do It For ME Christmas Card you can vote for them here ~ you just have to scroll through the images (which are shuffled each time you enter the site) until you reach our entries.  If you do vote for us I would like to say a huge thank you on behalf of myself and Tasha.