A wish for Megan

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As a person I see myself as quite generous person. I have volunteered for Race for life, and taken part in Race for life I also try were possible to sponsor people. If people ask for help I like to get involved.

So when I was on one of my many twitter chats, as part of my new business venture will talk about that another time. I was asked by @_littleGems who is a fellow tweeter whether I would be interested in donating some bunting to a cause called A wish for Megan.

Megan is a young girl who has Spinal Bifida, please see the below link to find out more A wish for Megan.  I’d like to explain here but I don’t think I can do it justice.

http://wishformegan.azurewebsites.net/about-megan.aspx

I have a mountain of material in my Bunting HQ but finally I chose the below material.  Which is a mixture of Cath Kidston and a number of local material shops. I have posted a picture of the final 5 flag bunting.

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It is now available to bid for but you need to be quick as the auction finishes on the 28th April.  If you go to

http://wishformegan.azurewebsites.net/donations.aspx

scroll about half way down, there is a huge amount of donations.

Look out for Fabric bunting by Bobbins and Spools.  The twitter name is @BobandSpool

Even if you don’t fancy the handmade bunting made by me I am sure there is something equally fabulous that you fancy have a go at bidding for.

I’ve missed you Computer

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It’s been a month since my last blog.  Before you say ‘this sounds like a confession’ it nearly is.  My last blog was 12th March and this is my next.

I’ve not been lazy or I can’t be bothered or this isn’t for me any more.  It’s purely because I’ve not had a computer.  And I’ve missed my computer, this has me thinking about what we rely on now a days.

You may’ve seen emails, tweets, Facebook comments circulating the internet, not from me, about when children were born in the 1970’s, 80’s or earlier.  Points such as I used to play outside until dark, eat mud, spoke not text people on the telephone to arrange meetings.  This was because the technology that is around now just didn’t exist.

Being without a computer I felt quite lost.  The number of times I thought I’ll just check that on the computer, and realised I couldn’t.   I wanted to write my blog but I couldn’t.  I feel the same about my phone.  As a couple of times recently I’d left that at home.  I thought I’d just check my emails, no, I’ll just text my husband to pick something up, no, I’ll have a sneaky peek at my twitter or facebook page, no and no.  It’s ridiculous how dependent I’ve become on my technology.

But should I feel guilty, the way the world has gone now it’s crazy.  Mobile phones are now so powerful, within my life time the processor that now runs my phone 30 years ago would fit into warehouse sized rooms.  I did my degree with a 486 computer, some people would sigh saying ‘I remember those’ others wouldn’t even know what that it.  I’ll give you a hint, the picture card that is in your phone has more memory.

One of the things that I used to check when I am booking self catering accommodation.  Is there a washing machine, dishwasher number of bedrooms/bathrooms I am now checking there it has wifi connections. My last point is my 21 month old daughter knows how to use my Ipad.  She happily moves her finger across the screen to unlock, fortunately she doesn’t know the password to unlock it.  Though once it is open she can find her apps, presses the icon and off there she goes.  Either singing or clapping or practising her words with the flashcard app.

So no I don’t feel guilty, no I’m not ashamed that I love my computer.  I am happy I have it with me and welcome it back.

Squeezing in exercise to squeeze in that dress

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Before I had my daughter I used to do a lot of exercise, I ran half marathons, cycled everyday to work and went to the gym. I enjoyed it. Then at 20 weeks pregnant I came off my bike in the snow. Big ‘STOP’ came from my husband and my mother so reluctanly I hung my running shoes up and locked my bike away, besides it should only be for a short while. After my daughter arrived I just don’t have the time.  My husband works shifts means I can’t pop out for a run or go out on my bike when ever I like.

Good news for me, since returning to work I am cycling to and from work twice a week.  Running two days a week and now looking for something to do on the fifth day of the week.  The only other spare time I have is during lunchtime which is when I came across www.lunchtimefitness.com.  It is run by Martin and Rob who are fully qualified fitness instructors and nutritionists and they meet in Queens Square at 1pm everyday.

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For the bargain price of £4 a session or £25 for the month.  So you could go every day and it would work out at just over £1 a session.

The sessions start at 1pm in Queens Square and it is either Martin or Rob that will meet us there.  Firstly a quick warm up either a run around Queens Square or a couple of minutes of high intensity bursts of exercise.  Star Jumps, spotty dogs, hi knees all of which are to warm up your bodies.  Once you have warmed up most the sessions follow a circuits set up, basically at each station there is a different exercise for you to do, normally one minute.  Each exercise designed to work on a different area of your body.  Press ups, squats with or without weights, lunges, dips (which are currently the worst exercise ever).  Martin and Rob both give you encouragment throughout your session to do your best but as we are all different in our abilities you don’t feel intimidated if you are not as fit as the tall slim lady next to you.

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The workouts are for about 40 minutes which gives me just enough time to go back to my office, shower and change and be ready for the afternoon. I would encourage any one to give it a go.  It also gets you away from your desk for an hour away from your phone and email.

Like I’ve said they are at Queens Square at 1pm everyday and you can’t miss them with their bright orange t-shirt.  And to use their strap line ‘Use your lunch break to look great’

Happy 100th Birthday Granny

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Yes you did read that right, my grandmother reached her 100th birthday this week.

This weekend I was in Northern Ireland to see and celebrate my grandmother’s 100th birthday.  We, unfortuneatly, live an aeroplane ride from my grandmother and other members of my family so we don’t get to see them very often.

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My grandmother has three children, nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.  All three children, seven grandchildren and four great grand children made the journey to see her.  My dad and his sisters hired a room in a local bar, Bryson’s.  I will add that the host, Barry was excellent and made the afternoon very enjoyable and made sure we were all happy above and beyond what we were expecting, (http://www.brysonsbar.com/).

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Granny’s birthday was on Monday and some of us were able to stay in Ireland to see her and we visited her at her home.  At 100 she still lives in her own home.  She does get help from a carer and visits from a local day centre but is by herself.  There were lots of cards from many friends, family and well wishers. But when we visited she was very excited about a birthday card that she received from the queen.

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Hopefully we shall see my granny next year.

Something different for a Sunday

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Sunday mornings for me are generally wake up (early due to a little one) and then potter around the house, bit of cleaning, bit of Peppa Pig or Roary the Racing Car, but this Sunday something very different.

I am currently on a bit of a fitness thing at the moment.  The bike has been out a couple of times this week as well as running back from work and even a circuits session.  Following a converstation at work with a colleague it was mentioned an orienteering meeting on Sunday.2013-02-24 12.23.00

I haven’t been orienteering since I was school age and thought why not, it was going to be a bit different than a run around the local area.

This Sunday’s event was held at Tyntesfield, as a National Trust member and Tyntesfield is my nearest National Trust property I have been many times I know the area pretty well.  This I felt gave me that little bit of confidence that I needed to get me to go.  I managed to organise baby sitting, my grandparents.

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I followed the signs to the registration where I picked up a ‘dibber’.  This is a small plastic electronic chip that attaches to your finger.  It is no bigger than your index finger.  I then moved towards the start.  As I was doing a beginners course, the Yellow, I was given a map before the start.  If you did a route that was orange or above, ie longer or more technically difficult you did not receive your map until you passed the start.  This gave me a couple of extra minutes to study the map, it may’ve been an advantage as I feel I am a pretty good map reader, but I found it helpful to get my eye in and understand the map.  An orienteering map is different from OS maps a lot more detailed 1:10,000 scale, and the symbols and vegetation cover keys are slightly different.

2013-02-24 12.22.50At the start there was about a two minute delay between each participant for each course.  When it was time to go I set off, I was pleased that the first checkpoint was just along from the start so didn’t have to look to far for it.  I placed the dibber into the checkpoint it beeped and the light went off.  Very different from the stapler with different pins the last time I did orienteering, probably shows when that was. Off to find check point two.  There were 13 checkpoints in total, I found the first 6 pretty easily.  Once I got to the seventh I must’ve run straight passed it as I ended up at the out of bounds.  I back tracked and found it well hidden in amongst some scramble.  The next 5 again were easy to find.  The 13th was more complicated as there where around 6 within a small radius.  As each checkpoint has a unique number it was a matter of finding the right flag.  Run to the finish and placed the dibber at the final checkpoint.

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I have finished my first orienteering event. I enjoyed it, I found the terrain difficult under foot as I have not run cross country for a long while.  The distraction of map reading and looking for the next checkpoint kept my mind of it.  Once the race was finshed I went back to the administration tent and handed in my dibber.  I received a print out of my race immediately.  I took 28 mins to run the event straight line distance was 2.4km, but as you couldn’t go in a straight line as there were fences and buildings in the way so the total distance was a little further.  By end of the event I finished 10th out of 48 that ran in my class.  I was pleased with this as it was my first event.  Until I saw that the rest of my class were mainly young teens.

2013-02-24 21.07.14As I enjoyed this event I am definitely going to do another and I will try a different level as the yellow was very easy probably a little too easy for me.

The event was on the Bristol Orienteering Klub website.  Check out www.bristolorienteering.org.uk.  The next event looks like the 3rd March in the Mendips.  Unfortuneatly I will be not be able to attend as I am away.

Countdown to my New Business Venture

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I have butterflies in my stomach at the moment.

I am about to start my own business.  It’s called Hill’s Kitchen Top, it has it’s own website, facebook and twitter account. Twitter is live at the moment, follow me on @Hills_kitchen1, don’t forget the 1.  The website and facebook page will be live on the 1st March 2013.

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With this new venture I have big plans, but I realise I must stay small.  This business initially will be a hobby as well as a business.  I have to stay working as an analyst.  I’m hoping people will love my products and buy them.

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My first venture will be bunting.  Personalised bunting, a gift for a new baby, a christening, maybe a gift for a wedding.

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Knitting, new skill or not

A couple of weeks ago I popped over to the local shop for some milk.  While I was there I saw two balls of wool and a pair of knitting needles for 99p.  I have never been able to knit and I Imagethought I’d give it a go.

I followed the instructions and to cast on 44 stitches as the instructed.  I had managed to knit 4 rows, however I ended up with 48 stiches.  I have no idea how I that happened as I don’t know how to create more stiches.  No matter I thought persist.

My evenings for the last couple of weeks have been taken up with knitting my little square (I only managed about 5 rows a night) and with each row the kniting was getting easier.  By half way though I had ended up with 55 stitches again no idea how I gained stitches as I know I have definitely dropped some.  You can also see from the large holes.

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Tonight I finished my first ever square.  As well as gaining 11 stitches and dropping several stitches I also ran out of yarn at the end of the square.  I feel somewhat proud. I can’t see me giving up my day job as I can’t see my knitting on any runway soon but I enjoyed the relaxation and I know my husband has been pleased with the peace and quiet in the last couple of evenings on the click clack of my needles.

What do you think? I might use it as a blanket for for one of Niamh’s dolls.

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My first Paid blog post

I have no idea how I came across this job but I applied and they have asked me to write a couple of blog posts for them.  Bonus is I get paid. I don’t know about other bloggers but I struggle with what do I write and inspiraion doesn’t come easy to me.  The job sends me a topic that I have to write about.  Below is my first article, it is a subject that I don’t know very much about but I enjoyed the research.

The culture of Saudi Arabia

As a woman living in a western country, the Middle East and Saudi Arabia seems very exotic.  With its exotic looking people, beautiful coloured clothing, bright sunshine and desert lands. But can a Western woman really live there.

Business in Saudi

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in western Asia.  It was founded in 1932 by Abdul Aziz bin Saud.  In 1932 this area was very poor, relying on agriculture and pilgrimages, until the late 1930’s early 1940’s when vast about of oil was discovered.  By 1976 Saudi Arabia became the largest oil producer in the world.  

A US owned country set up Aramco which set about to develop the oil fields since then Saudi Arabia has benefited imensely, however as oil is a large proportion of the income of Saudi Arabia the price of oil dramatically affects the money that comes into the country.

Brotherly politics

Politics in Saudi Arabia is dominated by the royal family.  There are no political parties or national elections.  Women are currently not permitted to vote though this is due to change in 2015 when they will be able to vote in municipal elections.  Women will also be able to be elected and nominated to the Shura Council.  Currently government is in the form of traditional tribal rule.  Where there are a number of tribal leaders or sheikhs that meet, these meetings are called majlis, where, the policies of Saudi Arabia as discussed.  The king is also the prime minister and as the family is vast are large number of the important posts are occupied by princes.   

Making new friends

Saudi Arabia has a fairly good relationship with the western world.  It joined the UN in 1945 and plays an important role in the World Bank and joined the World Trade Organisation in 2005.  This is evident in the fact that there are 9 million expatriates registered in Saudi Arabia.

Is Saudi Arabia out of reach for women?

Saudi Arabia treats women different from what we in the Western world has come to accept and expect.  Saudi Arabia follows Sharia law or Islamic law.  Women cannot drive so doing some simple tasks such as going to the supermarket or going out to meet friends are not that simple.  It is not impossible it just need planning.  Women in Saudi Arabia are expected to be completely covered only their eyes and hands are allowed to be exposed. Women cover the whole of their bodies with a abaya (black cloak) and a hijab (head covering) with a veil called a niqab.  Women are required to have a male guardian, normally a father/brother or once married their husband.  This can provide security and protection for women.

800m or a far greater distance

In London in 2012, at the Olympics in front of millions of people an extraordinary event was happening.  Not talking about the opening ceremony, but the fact that two women were taking part for the first time at this event.  Wujdan Shahrkhani took part in judo and Sarah Attar took part in track and field.  Of the two women Attar took her place in history as the first Saudi Arabian women to compete in the Olympics.  She finished last in her heat of the 800 metres with a significant distance between herself and the athlete that came first, but that 800 metres received a standing ovation and Saudi Arabia noticed as a country whose attitude to women is changing. 

What’s on the menu?

Throughout Saudi Arabia Islamic dietary law is enforced.  This means the drinking of alcohol and the eating of pork is forbidden.  Any meat that is butchered is butchered and blessed to Halal .  As well as western supermarkets that are appearing within the Kingdom there are plentiful markets that appear in most towns and villages where you can get an array of fantastic fruit and vegetables.  Traditional foods include lamb and chicken and also falafel.

 

 

Fashion Blog

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My name is Jane Hill, I am a 36 year old computer analyst working for a major bank.  I don’t work in fashion nor do I work in journalism.  I am unable to use the correct terminology for the fashion industry. But I do have a passion for clothes and clothing. I like to look good, and people ask where do I get that outfit.

I may not conform to the regular fashion trends, I like to read what they are and make my own interpretation of them. I have my own tastes.  Others may look at my clothes and ask ‘Really, you’re wearing that dress with those shoes’  But if I like what I am wearing it gives me a confidence to face the world and all that it is ready to throw at me.

Here are therefore my interpretation of the trends for SS13.

 

Firstly a black pencil skirt, this is a flattering skirt that makes your legs look long and elegant. Then the white shirt, I’ve chosen the fitted style that you pull over your head as this feels more comfortable and the added detail on the front.  This may remind you of those school days, but the additional of the black and white stripped jacket throws you to the front of the interview panel.

work clothesI have added a quilted bag with a subtle mono style as I don’t want to clash too much with the jacket as it’s the jacket that the main focus for this outfit.  The shoes compliment with the bag, with the black toe.  For a dash of sparkle i have suggested simple diamond earrings.  Overall this outfit will turn heads as you enter the office, yet shows professionalism for the CEO and board to notice and listen to.

 

Sequins – Christmas season may be over and a distant memory, this is when most of the glitter and sparkle is worn, but who says.

DressI adore this sequin dress, it has the glamour and sparkle that is needed to lift an evening.  I have added additional sparkle of the shoes, bracelet and necklace.  I love the fact that I have over done the diamonds.  In a year of gloom with weather and finances a little glamour is enough to lift all moods.  All you need is a glass of champagne and you will stunning.

 

 

Sports Dress – Following the joy, excitement and passion of the olympics, sports wear would normally be assigned to the leisure area heading towards the gym or sports ground.  Next have managed to create a gorgeous dress which has the same style as a tennis dress.

This dressSports wouldn’t look out of place sat out in the park enjoying a fews rays of the sun when it arrives. The dress is simple and I feel that the shoes add that something that will get you noticed.  My thoughts behind this dress is that you are lounging in a park with your feet outstretched and your feet are in this instance the style.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog and it gives a snap shot into my visions and the clothes that I enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Tester Baby

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Since I found out I was pregnant I was forever scouring the internet for all kinds of freebies. I’ve signed up for all of the baby clubs and mum clubs that I could find.

All of the major supermarket baby clubs

  • Sainsburys
  • Tesco
  • Kiddicare (Morrisons)
  • Asda
  • Mothercare/ELC

All the baby product websites

  • Huggies
  • Pampers
  • Sudocream
  • Hipp
  • Aptimal

I’ve also had the opportunity to blog about my life as a mum and I am very happy to pass on my experience and opinions.  My daughter and I now have the opportunity to be part a testing team to test two new Hipp juices.

The two Hipp juices have arrived with a letter and a link to survey.

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There were two flavours, but the labels were in German so I had to guess the flavours.

It was a lunchtime when I decided to test the Red fruit juice drink. Hipp asked that you didn’t decant the juice into a cup or beaker.  So I just opened the drink and gave it to my little one as it was.  My daughter has always been very good at drinking water/juice/milk so it didn’t come as to much of a surprise that she was able to drink the full 300ml at over lunchtime.  She infact could drink much more.  The ‘sports style’ lid was no problem to drink out of, however it did spill when knocked over and with a toddler this happens regularly.

The orange coloured juice was also druck with similar gusto.

The survey that I filled in as part of the test was very simple it was asking about the bottle design and style.  I added the point regarding the spillage.  It also asked about the price.  Bearing in mind that this is a 300ml I felt around £1 was a fair price.

I will look forward to seeing the bottles on the shelves.  To see what price they use and whether they change the style of the bottle lid.

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