The Photo Gallery Week 31: Landscape

Whilst I love the green and pleasant land in which we live – I suspected there would be lots of beautiful British landscapes on show this week (in fact Tara and I often end up posting photos of the same local woods) – so decided to go foreign!

We are regular visitors to Dubai – but these were from our first trip there over New Year from 2008 into 2009. We did a trip out into the desert (I always struggle with spelling that and wonder if I’m talking about pudding instead?!) and the landscape was so different to anything we’re used to and so breathtaking. (I also felt violently travel sick driving up and down all of the dunes!)

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The trip was in the evening – so we also got to see the sunset.

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The photos don’t really do it justice – but it was utterly amazing.

This is my entry this week for The Gallery over on the Sticky Fingers blog – do go and see other people’s amazing landscapes.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
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Operation Teddy Bear – World Record SMASHED!!!

I’ve blogged before about Operation Teddy Bear and the accompanying raising of its awareness with #opteddybear selfies – but yesterday was THE BIG DAY – and is ‘one day in May’ I will never forget!!

A couple of weeks ago we found out that Finlay was going to need further brain surgery – and just a few days before the big day – so we gave him the choice of whether we postponed, or went ahead without him.  The mature, sensible, lovely boy that he is, he recognised how much work had gone into the preparation and told us to go ahead anyway. So on Thursday 30 April Fin had a 7 hour operation. It went really well and he was excited that he could be video linked in to the Operation Teddy Bear event.

The night before we were picking up bears from the various places around the Alvechurch area where they had been stored – my children were literally drowning in bears:

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Then on Sunday May 3rd it was an early – and wet – start at Alvechurch Cricket Club. If we’d arranged for Guinness to come out and witness the event we would have had to pay them a few thousand pounds – and we wanted that money to go to the charities (Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Brain Tumour Research) – so we went down the route of providing loads of evidence to support our attempt instead. This meant independent witnesses were there every step / bear of the way and everything was photographed and videoed.

So – off we went!! At this point the bears could sit on plastic to stop their bottoms getting wet – those later on weren’t so comfy!

I laid 500 (as in put them down, not laid like a chicken!)

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and other members of the Op Teddy Bear team did too:

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All through the first few hours we were able to FaceTime with Fin in his (dry, warm) hospital bed!!

We broke the UK record of 1,996 within a few hours, and as we approached the existing world record of 4,041 we found that the wifi was down at Fin’s hospital and so we couldn’t get him to watch live – but we photographed and videoed it all for him. In Fin’s absence, a little boy called Oscar – who was treated by Birmingham Children’s Hospital for a life threatening heart condition as a baby – laid the world record breaking bear! (Cue loads of sobbing from me and the rest of the team!!)

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But we weren’t going to stop at just scraping the record – we wanted to SMASH it – so on we went!

There was a steady stream of wonderful people volunteering to lay bears – and a huge queue of people to help ‘feed’ the layers with bears! It was the Alvechurch Picnic In The Park in the neighbouring park, so there were loads of locals to come and help and watch and it had the most amazing feel of community spirit.

Onwards we went…….bear after bear after bear. They had to be bears, not any other kind of stuffed toy – and they had to be touching at all times. I took my role as bear police very seriously (I suspect there will be children in the school playground this week pointing at me saying ‘there’s that nasty lady who shouted at us to keep away from the bears’!!) but we couldn’t risk the line being broken.

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Credit: Anthony Hill

Then, there was some real excitement  – someone really important had arrived at the attempt. IT WAS FINLAY!!!! The whole ‘wifi is down’ had been a ruse, in fact the Church family were bringing Finlay out of hospital! So 3 days after 7 hour brain surgery, he’d done so well, he’d been allowed out – and he was able to come and join us. Cue LOADS more weeping from me and the rest of the team!!

He was well enough to lay some bears – here he is with one of our independent witnesses, having hit the 7,000 marker!

Fin and Nigel

and here he is ‘feeding’ bears to his Mum!

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Still we were laying bears – those that had been donated over recent weeks by generous people all over the country – but also brought along on the day.

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We’d even sourced a generator and some floodlights in case we needed to keep laying after it went dark, and were on our 3rd pair of independent witnesses!!

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But then – the end was in sight. And we’d done it – laid every bear and completely annihilated the existing world record!! Obviously I was weeping far too much to actually take any photos as Fin’s siblings laid the last few bears and then Fin himself laid the final bear………

[Edited to add – thankfully my husband wasn’t such an emotional wreck and took photos of Fin’s younger siblings laying the penultimate bear – and Fin with the final one – phew!!!]

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These are photos from our phones, so not the best quality in the world, but I think give a really good feel for the day. It was an amazing day to be part of – and really highlighted how much the entire community is behind Fin and his family. All of the evidence will be sent off to Guinness for them to check and hopefully issue Fin his certificate – and getting in the printed edition of the Guinness Book of World Records itself is his dream.

But the record attempt was only part of it – the main reason was to raise awareness and funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Brain Tumour Research – so if you feel inspired to donate, the Just Giving pages are still accepting!

It’s now the morning after the day before.  My husband and I (and I expect other people around the village) are struggling to walk today (my Fitbit shows I walked 12 miles yesterday – I could have just done the Birmingham 10k – which was also on yesterday – twice instead!!).  The longest time I sat down in the 14 hours we were there yesterday was for a wee!!  We also have 15,534 wet teddy bears to dry and distribute to the various charities who have supported us – but pretty soon it won’t be ‘All About the Bears‘ anymore……………..

The category for The Gallery over on the Sticky Fingers blog this week is ‘one day in May’- and this is one day in May that I will never, ever forget!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Colour – The Photo Gallery Week 227

The prompt this week for The Photo Gallery is ‘Colour’ – and I knew straight away I wanted to use this photo taken on our summer holiday last year.

I love the colour of the chocolate (hey, I just love chocolate, as the size of my bum will attest!)

I love the colour of the pink flower on her hat (or actually her sister’s hat that she’d borrowed, hence the fact it’s too big!)

But most of all I love the colour of her perfect little rose bud lips.

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I suspect there are going to be some very colourful entries this week – so do pop across and see how others have interpreted ‘colour’.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Spring – The photo gallery week 226

Way back in Autumn I said I would take the same 2 pictures out of my front and back windows each season, to keep a record of the changing views.

Today the prompt over at Sticky Fingers is ‘Spring’ – and it was a GLORIOUS day and so photos were duly taken. Let’s be honest – they may well beat ‘Summer’ knowing what British weather is like!!

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They are so bright and hopeful.  I also like the fact you can just about see the St George’s flag flying from the church (not sure why?  An Easter thing??)

But I also realised that I never posted the ‘Winter’ photos? Whoops! So here they are – doesn’t it look cold and frosty!

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Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Girls – The Photo Gallery week 224

Last week the prompt over on the Sticky Fingers blog for the gallery was ‘boys’ – and so, unsurprisingly, last week I wrote about my boys – and this week it’s the turn of my girls.

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After we’d had our eldest daughter and then son – and some pretty traumatic births – we decided enough was enough and husband had the snip. As people were all too keen to point out ‘you’ve had one of each, why would you want any more?’ (Why do people say that?!?)

Fast forward 4 years and I’m WEEPING in the M&S school uniform section buying my ‘baby’ his school trousers and decided I’d quite like another baby (well, actually 2, as my OCD couldn’t cope with an odd number of children!) Husband was more than happy to oblige – and 6 weeks post op we were pregnant with baby number 3, and 16 months after her baby number 4 arrived too!

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So girls massively outweigh boys in this house – there is A LOT of pink!  They are already all their own characters – and seem to be getting feistier with each Miss Price iteration.

The eldest is BRILLIANT with her little sisters (most of the time!) and in return they look up to her massively (as I would like to think my sisters do to me?!?).

The little two being so close in age is great – and they play beautifully together (they also fight like cat and dog – but we’ll gloss over that for now!)  The fact they are both girls makes it very different to the older kids relationship. I am one of 3 girls – but throwing an additional brother into the mix really changes the dynamic.

I used to love the American TV programme ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and the dynamics between all of the siblings – and I look forward to that playing out in our family in the future – definitely different to just ‘sisters’.

So these are my girls – pop over to The Gallery to see other peoples’ girls…….

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Boys – The Photo Gallery Week 223

Boys are outnumbered 2:1 in this house (in fact it’s 4:2 but I am a maths geek and can’t bear not to divide down to the lowest common denominator!) I have to say I think this is standing the boy in good stead for the future – he’s already a hit with the girls at school, and I’m sure it’s because he knows how to deal with the female of the species! I also fear we could be in for a whole world of hurt when he’s a bit older as he is totally his father’s son!! A friend has already said he’s accepted that our boy will probably break both of his daughters’ hearts at some point…..

Here are my boys on New Year’s Eve – one has drunk more champagne than the other…….

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I also love this one of them climbing Snowdon last summer.  I’ve also realised they’re always standing the same way round – like Ant and Dec?! 

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So these are my boys – go and see others over at The Gallery on the Sticky Fingers Blog…

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Mothers – The Photo Gallery Week 221

Today is my 41st birthday (a whole year since this) – so whilst the theme of the gallery this week is ‘Mothers’ – it’s also pretty pertinent, as without mine – I wouldn’t be celebrating today!

I love this photo of Mum taken *a few* years ago (and clearly not by me!). It also highlights how important it is to keep photos.  Nowadays we can take a quick snap with our phone whilst out and about – but back in the 50s it would have been much more of an ‘event’ – but so lovely that Mum still has lots of photos of her youth.  I save mine onto the computer and then weekly to an external hard drive – just to ensure I don’t ‘lose’ them.

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So this is a post to say ‘Thank you Mother’ for having me 41 years ago (she was in labour from 9 ’til 5 – perhaps I should have been called Dolly?!) and for everything you’ve done since and still do for me now.  She was round after school yesterday performing hair cuts for our youngest girls!

This is my entry for this week’s #thegallery over on The Sticky Fingers blog – do go and see how others have interpreted the theme of ‘Mothers’.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Black and White – The Photo Gallery week 220

Now I am cheating slightly – because I didn’t take the photos I’m about to post! We had a family photoshoot in the Lickey Hills the Autumn before last – and the photos taken by Sharon Papper were brilliant. Quite a few were in black and white and I immediately thought of them when the topic came up.

It’s also pretty rare to have photos of all 6 of us, so lovely to look at them, and see how much the kids have grown since then.

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This is my contribution to this week’s Photo Gallery – do go and see what others have posted.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Health and Fitness – The Photo Gallery week 219

I have blogged before that I haven’t represented my country at sport – but even that could overstate my love of things sporty.  At school my best friend was off being BRILLIANT at hockey / tennis / skiing – in fact, anything vaguely sporty that she turned her hand to – whilst I was really good at quadratic equations and playing the flute.

Since my Uni years I’ve worried about my weight (although looking back at photos of then – WHY??) and have been anything from a size 8 up to a size 18 and everything in between, with 4 pregnancies thrown in too.

After my second child I discovered ‘The Idiot Proof Diet’ (basically low carb-ing) and was really successful with it – hey, I even appeared on the ‘before and after‘ page of the associated website. To be honest, right at this moment I’d take the ‘before’!

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But children 3 and 4 and associated 5 stone (yep – count ’em!) weight gain means I’m up near the top end of the last 20 years weight-wise.

I’ve always adopted the Meghan Trainor approach to size:

“Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
All the right junk in all the right places
I see the magazines working that Photoshop
We know that sh*t ain’t real
Come on now, make it stop
If you got beauty beauty just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
Yeah, my momma she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that’s what’s you’re into
Then go ahead and move along”

But – it’s not ‘all about the weight’ (do you like what I did there?!) – it is about my health and fitness.  We’re just back from an amazing family holiday at Bluestone in Wales – where we did loads of brilliant activities – but they nearly broke me.  I am black and blue from clinging onto a cargo net for dear life – partly fear of heights, partly fear of being pretty damn close to the weight limit for the equipment.  In one way (the shallow way) it’s the fact that I don’t like the size of myself in the photos I can see from our trip – but more importantly, I have 4 fabulous kids who I want to be able to be ‘Woodland Warriors’ with in years to come, without nearly passing out having walked up some steps through a forest.

And maybe if I write it down here, I have to stick to it?

I am really lucky in that as my own boss I can factor exercise into my daily life – I do pilates once a week (which in 2 years has sorted my dodgy back out amazingly) and I have PT sessions twice a week, so the exercise side of my fitness should be covered.  However, I’ve been told that 80% of health / fitness / weight loss is what I put into my mouth – and I am the only one who can take responsibility for that. So that means healthier food, limited booze and really grasping the nettle (perhaps to make some nice tea?!?)

This was supposed to be a photography feature – as usual with The Gallery – but has turned into a bit of a heart to heart with you all – sorry!

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Dumpy and determined
Ready for yoga
Ready for yoga

Do go and see how others have interpreted ‘Health and Fitness’ – hopefully with much better photography than me!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Light – The Photo Gallery Week 217

The theme of The Photo Gallery this week is ‘light’ – and I immediately thought of this photo of the light going down on 2014. We were lucky enough to spend the New Year in Dubai – and this was the sun setting on New Year’s Eve from our balcony. There are no filters involved – I’m not clever enough to do anything like that!

It seemed such a perfect picture to end the year with (well, before the ones involving alcohol and dancing in the run up to midnight anyway!!)

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This is my entry for this week’s Photo Gallery – do go and see how others have interpreted light.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery