When you make a conscious choice to be happy, no one can take it away from you because no one gave it to you: you gave it to yourself.

A quote from April Green's - Bloom For Yourself Journal

Monday 28 November 2011

Crafty Boots Blog Hop!

Good morning - and what a very exciting morning it is too. I'm taking part in my 1st ever blog hop! Read on to found out what you have to do to take part.

The theme at Crafty Boots Challenges this fortnight is ‘Anything Goes’. You can join in the challenge as normal but there are 12 extra chances for you to win a prize by joining the first ever Crafty Boots blog hop!

If you are joining in the hop you should have got here from Tracie’s blog. If you haven’t blog hopped before it is really simple, just start at the Crafty Boots Challenge blog and hop through the design team blogs in the order set out on that page. Each of the design team members has a word or two for you to collect which will reveal a message at the end. Once you have collected that message email it to to be entered into the draw to win the prize of three digis of your choice from Hope Jacare Doodles. You must also become a follower of all the design team’s blogs (and Claire’s) to be eligible to win the prizes.

Right, here's my DT card using one of the fantastic digital stamps from Hope Jacare - Home is where the heart is.

As you can see I've kept the card simple, using Centura Pearl card for the base, a few card candies and a ribbon.  The actual digital stamp I've printed out 3 times and coloured using neutral tones from my Promarker skin tones/accents/browns range.  I added a touch of sparkle using my Wink of Stella pens.  One of the houses has a different door which has been sparkled and had Glossy accents added. I then cut up the extra layers to create my own decoupage to create a 3d effect.  The finished piece was matted and layered onto neutral core-dinations card and centralised on the base.

That's it, a simple, but effective card I reckon.  Isn't the digital stamp gorgeous?

Don’t forget that myself and each of the design team members has a prize of candy up for grabs, this will include a sample pack of the fantastic new Crafty Boots Deluxe card along with a few other goodies. Be sure to leave a comment on each of our blogs and follow us to be in with a chance of winning our candy!

My words for the secret message are:

This is the final stop of the blog hop so make sure you email the message you have collected to

The deadline for both the Anything Goes challenge, and the blog hop (and candy) is Sunday 11th December at 12 Noon (UK time).

Good luck and take care, 
Zo x

Friday 25 November 2011

Paris - Part four

Good afternoon, well it's Academic Review day for us today, so me and Keagan have been to school to see his tutor. Thankfully (proud mum here!) he's doing really well and has continued on with the hard work from his 1st year at Secondary school. Phew, no sign of that teenage monster...yet!

Right Paris, this'll be my last post about my trip as I reckon you'll be fed up hearing about it!

For me the Tuesday day out has to be one of my most favourite parts of our whole trip.  I'm still a little flabbergasted by it all to be honest, even now some weeks on, I can't quite get my head around some of the things I saw and experienced.

The Musee d'Orsay sits overlooking the Seine, a beautiful building that used to be a railway station years ago!  I didn't take that many pictures inside because we weren't allowed but I have found copies of some of my favourite paintings to share.  I don't feel I can put into words enough to explain the place, but I know my co traveller and super friend Debs, will also be sharing her Paris experience over at so have a peek and see her take on it all.

You know when something so amazing takes your breathe away and makes you unable to put into words what you saw etc, well that's what it was like in the Musee d'Orsay.  The paintings were unbelievable, the statues  exhibitions were all stunning even if we didn't always get what was supposed to be going on!

Here's a just a few pics I took.
 We literally stood behind the clock and looked out across to the other bank of the Seine.
 Fab elephant statue outside.
 Entrance to the museum.
The building itself was stunning but so was most of the architecture we saw.

And here's some of my favourite paintings.

Other than the Renoir's, Monet's and Van Gogh's I was also intrigued by Gustav Caillebotte's work, some of Degas' paintings and by many of the pieces that were so life like I thought the characters could walk off the wall!

The museum has a fantastic website complete with videos, pictures of all the work and artists.

I also found website, which has all his work and details. I'd never heard of Caillebotte before but am delighted to have found him.

I also found many sites that look at Edgar Degas's work too. As they say Google it!

I feel that I'm unable to really tell you about this wonderful place even though it grabbed me the most, so I recommend having a look at their website to see if you can see why I'm so speechless by it all.

Sometimes an experience is so big, it literally consumes us so that we can hardly speak - well that definitely sums up how I feel about Musee d'Orsay!

That's it, I promise I won't post about Paris any more!

Thanks for looking and take care Zo x

Saturday 19 November 2011

Paris - Part Three!

Morning - well it's match day for me, I'll be leaving in just under an hour to go and watch the mighty Bristol Rovers take on Barnet in League 2. Also looking forward to seeing my latest article in the match day programme. Will take a picture and share it with you at some point.  Was brave this time and used a picture of myself to go with the article (see if you can guess which one from this post!). Hopefully people will enjoy reading it, I'll have to wait and see!

Right onto Paris.

On Monday we enjoyed the wonders of the Batobus service.  A glass topped boat that acts as a water bus whereby you buy a ticket for the day and then can hop on and off all day long.

See, one just like ours!

The boat circled a route that consisted of 8 stops, all at prime locations. We got on at the Louvre stop and sailed up to and turning around past the Eiffel Tower, to come back down right by the huge structure.

 As you can see I was pretty pleased to be near that tower!
 A misty day but it didn't stop her from being imposing.

I was amazed at the detail in the structure and at how small the red lift looked going up and down, ummm wouldn't catch me going up it!

We then carried on down past the Musee d'Orsay right on to the Notre Dame where we got off.
We enjoyed a yummy lunch in a little restaurant over looking this great building, then we explored the area as we wanted to find a certain bookshop - The Shakespeare Company -  which has been selling English printed books for years.

Mooching around inside was an art as it was a lot smaller than we thought, but it was amazing. Upstairs were reading areas with chairs, sofas etc, though it didn't quite live up to our expectations in terms of space, and atmosphere.

After seeing the sights we got back on the boat to travel back to the Champs Elysée, my only focus was to find...nope, not the clothes or handbag shops, but the Paris Saint-Germain football club shop!

 As you can see I found it, and had to pose outside with my Bristol Rovers scarf! We went in as I wanted to buy my son a scarf, which was definitely not at Bristol Rovers prices. Lol I had a chat with the shop assistant and explained who Rovers are, but she wasn't that impressed to hear we are in League 2...well PSG are top of their league (equivalent to our top flight footy)
The L'arc de Triomphe stands proudly looking down the vast road, which was stunning with the trees displaying their autumnal wardrobes.

We looked at the shops, but I was more impressed by the architecture than the clothes etc, this caught my eye though...
Yes the famous road is home to many car showrooms and I couldn't resist going in and taking this picture of the Red Bull F1 Car from last season.

Much like the price of the handbags really, out of my league!

Once more we got back on the boat to enjoy the sights of the trip once more, it was lovely as it started to get dark so many areas were now lit up creating a different scene from the one we saw early.

Had to play around with my camera to capture this, but am so pleased I did, it was stunning. I took this on the bridge behind the Louvre (can't remember the name!).

After the disappointment of visiting the Louvre, this trip certainly made up for it. Little did we know we were going to be even more impressed by our Tuesday trip to the Musee d'Orsay! Tell you about that next time.

Take care Zo x
(Eeek look at the time best go get my layers on ready for footy!)

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Paris - Part Two!

Good morning!

Well it's a grey day here in Somerset so I thought I'd cheer myself up by sharing another Paris adventure with you.

As you know I went to Paris with my friend Debs, who is now also sharing her thoughts and observations about Paris over on so pop over and have a read.

Right Sunday - well we woke up full of excitement and keen to get to The Louvre.  It is an iconic museum, known for it's glass pyramid and seen worldwide by many on TV, film etc.  Looking back we both admit we were a bit naive, it was the first Sunday in the month, the day when the museum is open for free!

But it was November, so it wouldn't be that busy, right?


We arrived at around 10.30am, oh my days you should have seen the queue, it lapped the around the Pyramid & would probably take at least an hour to reached the entrance.

Here's what we saw on arrival.

Thankfully, due to my disabilities we didn't have to join the queue, we were directed to the other entrance where our bags were manually searched as opposed to going through the scanners, and then we were allowed straight in! Phew!

The entrance area is huge, I think my eyes popped out of my head when I saw it.  Again I think my naivety played a part, I'm a country lass, who doesn't spend much time in the big cities of this world so I just wasn't expecting the enormity of it all. Daft, definitely!

It doesn't look too bad on these pics, but this area was large, as you went one of four ways to visit the different areas of exhibitions everything became smaller in comparison and moving around was difficult, even if you were in a wheelchair or using sticks.  Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of lifts, escalators etc, but navigating your way around wasn't easy. We took a lift to try and reach another floor, up and down we went but still ended up on the same floor! Probably us mind, but the sheer numbers of people all doing the same thing made it really hard to get around. Nobody allowed room for people with disabilities, it was all push and shove, and no manners in my opinion. I was so lucky to have Debs, who looked after me and made sure I got to see what I wanted without being hurt.

Now of course a trip to The Louvre isn't complete without seeing the Mona Lisa.  But I was disappointed, the  organisation around this famous picture meant it was an awful experience trying to get to see her.  She was in a smallish room, cordoned off. At first I thought there was a queue, that would filter by her, allowing everyone to have their moment, take a no-flash photo before moving out of the way. But I was wrong.

Once more it was every man/woman for themselves.  There were stewards but they did little to control the crowd, or even to make sure people weren't being pushed about. I did manage to see the picture but didn't get to have a moment to really appreciate this iconic painting.  I quickly took a couple of pictures on my phone before getting out of there as fast as we could manage. By now I was really losing patience, I felt for Debs too, she was trying not to get barged out of the way as well as looking after me. Our excitement and enthusiasm was lost.

My shaky picture of the Mona Lisa!

We found our way to another area that was much quieter - Greek exhibition - I was able to actually enjoy this area, and got to pose for some pics too!

But by now our enjoyment had gone, so we decided to leave, I was really disappointed with The Louvre and feel it could have been so much better if more attention had been paid to how all people could get around.  The system of lifts was not easy to navigate and trying to get through to them was hard, though maps etc were provided, not being able to use the stairs etc meant we had to go round and round before getting anywhere. I know we could've paid to have a guide, but I wanted to explore for myself not be told what to see.

Just outside, is the area that leads to the Tulliere Gardens. The sun was out, so we enjoyed the rest of the day exploring this magnificent place.

The autumnal colours were amazing.  The statues, which were everywhere, basked in sunlight made for wonderful viewing. I really enjoyed this part of the day, and I know Deb felt better not being pushed around too.  We could both relax.

Once back in our hotel room, exhausted, we both reflected on our day.  The disappointment of the Louvre was replaced by a deep appreciation of what we had seen and an enjoyment of our afternoon in the gardens.

Hope you like this latest reflection on Paris, keep an eye for the next part, where I share out boat trip on the Seine, Notre Dame, my excitement of visiting the PSG club shop and our afternoon on the Champs Elysée!

Thanks for popping by. Take care Zo x

Monday 14 November 2011

Crafty Boots DT card - Fantasy

Good Morning -  well in theory it is, but I've already been to docs with my son this morning! His neck has gone into spasm, ouch, lots of pain.

Anyway the new challenge launches over at Crafty Boots and the theme is fantasy.  This is a huge subject so get your thinking caps on and I look forward to seeing your entries when I look!

My DT card is a simple decoupaged card I've made for Christmas to give to my brother and sister in law. The image is from the Joanna Sheen collection 'Enchanted Dreams' by Josephine Wall.  I love this image so printed it off a few times to create my own decoupage. There are a number of winter/Christmas like images  and I thought it fits the Fantasy theme perfectly.

The card is matted and layered with silver and black Kanban card, and is also Spray & Sparkled with the Iridescent glitter spray from Crafter's Companion. Anyway thanks for looking and I hope you can join us over at Crafty Boots.

I'd just like to say that I have been looking at your wonderful creations but haven't been commenting as much as I'd like. I'm finding things a bit of a struggle at the mo, my Paris trip while wonderful has really hit me for six so am in lots of pain and very tired presently. Will be sharing my next Paris post soon though!

Take care Zo x

Friday 11 November 2011

Paris - Part one!

I'm back!

As some of you know I recently fulfilled a dream and visited Paris for a few days. To embark on such a trip for me was a massive thing as I didn't know how I'd cope with the travelling and getting around in what turned out to be the busiest, maddest city I've ever been to!

Thankfully my fab friend Debs was on hand to help and support me every second of the journey.  And while I am now is so much pain and am so tired I feel it was all worth it to fulfil that very dream. Over the next few posts I'd like to share with you my experience, observations and pictures.

So to start; we flew out of Bristol last Saturday 05/11/11 with Easy jet (Speedy Boarding meant we didn't queue at all) arriving at Paris Charles De Gaulle airport around lunch.  Straight away I was hit by how busy it was, people every where & no one showing the same manners as us British do! But we coped and navigated the airport to find the Roissybus to take us into the heart of Paris. For €10 it was the cheapest and most direct way of getting from airport to City centre.  Thankfully our hotel was only minutes from the Paris Opera house where the bus stopped.

We stayed at the pleasant Pavillon Saint-Augustin Hotel 3 stars so it was comfortable, central and suited us perfectly.

Our room was spacious & comfortable, though I soon realised that the French don't seem to acknowledge small people (I'm 4ft 10"). Everything seemed a good few inches higher than over here!

We went out for food on that first day but other than that we rested, as the travelling meant I was in pain & tired. We found we were in the heart of the retail area and had everything we could want on our doorstep. My French is reasonable so we felt comfortable using the local shops and supermarkets to buy food etc for our room. We only booked the hotel as room only so that we weren't restricted by meal times, especially with not knowing how I was going to be each day so we didn't want to have to rush to get up if I wasn't up to it. In the end that suited us perfectly as we could come and go as we pleased and never felt pressured. It was lovely to take our time and also the thrill of having croissants and coffee/tea while out felt a 'very French' thing to do!

When we went out on Sunday the views of architecture that met us as we found our bearings were stunning. Here's some of the pics we took round and about.

 Yes they still have C & A in Paris!

 This is of the Paris Opera house.

Couple of the grand looking hotels!

On the whole we were thrilled with our location, so near to everything, however we did find that the French weren't that good at allowing space for wheelchairs or someone using sticks.  And crossing the road was an art form. Pedestrian crossings were everywhere but even if the man was green you had to be careful because cars frequently went through red lights, would drive around you as you crossed on a green man, and basically pedestrians and cars alike were every man/woman for themselves!  We took our time and got where we wanted to go eventually.

Right that's it for me, I'm off to bed now but next time I'll be sharing my experience of The Louvre and the Tulleries Gardens with you all.

Take care Zo x