The First Day

I have been avoiding this day for weeks now.

I knew it was coming and practically we had everything prepared. The uniforms were stamped, washed, ironed, and hung on tiny wooden hangers ready for selection. The lunchbox had been practised. Various water bottles shaken upside down vigorously to see if they were suitable. Proper shoes bought from Clarks. Canvas shoes bought for the first few weeks when it's still hot and he's wearing shorts. Heels broken down so as not to cut little ankles. Lunchtime discussed. Dinner ladies talked about. Independent toileting has happened. Nose blowing practised. His name written over and over again, trying to correct the misformation of a certain letter which has come from nowhere. Snack time explained.

Tears wiped away in private.

Many tears.

Yet the 2nd of September still happened, just as I knew it always would.

And he is ready for school, and he's excited by it. He needs the social interaction and the challenge. Quite frankly he also needs squashing (and as a teacher, saying that doesn't come easily!).

Good luck my clever, funny, bright and sweet little boy. Enjoy your time at school, make friends but stay true to who you are, share and be friendly but don't be walked over, be polite and kind, be yourself because that it who everyone loves. I love you with all my heart, thank you for letting me guide you these past four years, and here's to the next chapter.

First day at school

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

The Gallery: Sun

This past fortnight has shown us what Summer is all about; perfect blue skies with wispy white clouds, bird singing in the green-leafed trees, The Boy running bare foot over the scorching sands of the beaches we've been visiting.

Balmy evenings have meant later bedtimes, glasses of Pimm's (for us, not him), ball games, dancing in the sprinkler valiantly trying to rehydrate the parched lawn, and climbing frame fun.

Like this:

The Gallery Sun

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

The Gallery: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I seem to be running short of time to do The Gallery most weeks at the moment and to my shame, I had no idea what the theme was this week until Tara's e-mail dropped into my inbox at 6pm this evening. When I glanced at the theme I knew that I'd be able to easily take part as I'd uploaded these photos last night to Instagram.

For me, it always feels that Christmas is on the way when we get our 6 foot high and 4 foot wide Christmas tree out of the attic and assemble it on the first weekend of December. This is the gold, red and wooden decoration tree and the main one of the house. It's a big family affair decorating this tree with my doing the top, The Boy doing the bottom (under a teenie-weenie bit of direction) and Mr. TBaM doing the back.

These are my favourite decorations on the tree:

A mixture of twee characters, home-made wreaths by The Boy and the robin which always nestled in my own childhood Christmas tree. I've bought The Boy one to have on his tree in the future.

Carefully unwrapping the treasures of Christmasses past is such a joy; watching The Boy discover his own decorations which we have bought him every Christmas brings back a rush of memories from each festive season.


Hopefully his future partner will like the decorations and allow him to use them on their tree when he's an adult!

Incidentally, I'm trying to start a hashtag on Instagram so I can have a nosey at the glitz and glamour on other trees. I'd love it if you'd join in? Search on #showmeyourdecorations.

Monday Mobile & The Gallery

Angie over at Cakes, Photos, Life has a new linky (she's started today) for mobile photographs. I'm a sucker for a photo linky, especially when it allows me to show off photos that normally only features in my Instagram feed.

Sunset on my birthday, taken on my Samsung Galaxy S3, edited using Camera+ on the iPad.

I'm also linking this up to The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers, where this week Tara has given us the theme of 'Sky'. Having posted quite a few photos recently of blue skies, I didn't want to do another specific photo and really like this one, so am choosing to link it up instead.

The Gallery: Streetlife

I've posted before about the day that The Boy and I discovered the wonderful world around us when we went into Cardiff on the train, so I didn't want to use those photos again for this week's gallery theme of 'Street Photography'. However, when I was writing up a review earlier I came across a photo that I feels fits the theme really well at the moment.

This photograph was taken when we were in London for the Britmums Live blogging conference, right slap bang in between the start of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the upcoming Olympic games.

I feel it kind of sums up Britain at the moment, what do you think?

The Gallery: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

I have a small obsession that I've kept hidden until now. However, when Tara announced last Friday that The Gallery theme this week would be:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Basically transport; that can be bicycles, motorbikes, camper vans, motor homes or jet skis. Interpret it any way you like and then come back and let's get that motor running.

I let out a little squeal and knew that it was time for my obsession to be revealed.

You know those 50p ride-ons at supermarkets? Yeah, it's those.

I'm not quite sure why I'm obsessed with them, I'm not even sure there were that many around when I was a nipper, but I think it stems from not going on them very much as a child. Who knows? All I do know is that I have to keep a stash of 50p coins in a separate section in my purse!

And this is why…

The truly scary thing is that this is only about half the photos…

I think I need help, please send it in the form of 50p coins.

The Gallery: Sunshine

With the sunshine bursting all over the nation, Tara has decreed the theme this week to be just that:


Watch it rain when she opens the linky!

However, for the moment I am going to use an image that I took on the weekend when we went to London. We've never taken The Boy there before and haven't been ourselves for about eight years, so this was a big thing for us. Originally invited to a press event in the O2, we decided to turn it into a family day out and stayed overnight in a hotel in Slough. We got up early on the Saturday morning (we even had to wake our son, an unheard of event) and caught the train into 'the big smoke'. He adored it and found the underground fascinating.

After we'd finished in the O2, he asked if we were going to London again? I suppose the size of a place is quite a difficult thing for a two year old to understand and so we explained that we were in London. That's when he declared that London was where the London Eye was and Justin had been on that. We'd already discussed the possibility of taking him on it, but weren't sure if he'd 'get it'. After that little proclamation from him, we trekked off to the embankment and found ourselves queueing for an hour in the blazing early afternoon sunshine.

We queued for nearly an hour and he didn't complain once, why would you when you have this to enjoy?

Oh, and yes, he adored the whole experience. My 366 photo from Saturday shows that.

The Gallery: A Story of Siblings

"You know those quirky little stories you pass on from generation to generation? Every picture tells a little story, but some tell a really special one. I want to see THAT photo.

So this week's theme is: A Family Story.

I think the hardest part here is going to be how to narrow it down to just one photo!"

For me, the hardest part is not narrowing it down to one photo, because I'm not going to. For me, the hardest part is knowing what to write. I've spoken before of my grandparents and my parents and my present and future family. So what is left to write is about my generation; my siblings.

I'm the youngest of four children; two boys and two girls in that order. There is a gap of twelve years between my eldest brother and me, but that never made any difference. Growing up, I always had companions, friends and protectors. I was happy and loved, and loved in return. There came a tricky time when we reached adulthood, but this is not the place to discuss this. And so with that, I'm going to gloss over the stress and the arguments, the exhiled years and the fallen tears. I'm going to show you three photos which are incredibly special to me:




I'm going to get rollocked by at least one of them for putting the last photo up!

The Gallery: Photographic Resolutions

This week's brief:

I am so guilty of taking all the family photos that there will probably little documented proof I ever existed when the family looks back on our lives!

So this week's theme is: My Photography Resolution.

Because once it's in writing, you HAVE to do it, right?!

The lady's right: once it's written down then I have to do it. That's why I tend not to write to-do lists, I can't handle the pressure of seeing just how much stuff I should be doing as opposed to blogging! However, I do want to develop my range and skills in photography this year, and so I am setting myself three targets.

1. Learn how to use mobile photo editing apps

This has been a target on and off for the past year or so, but I've found it difficult to want to take photos with the iPod Touch or my HTC Desire because the quality of the cameras are shockingly awful! However, the prompt a few weeks ago has reignited my desire to conquer these beasts.

Earlier this afternoon, I was discussing with someone on twitter about the availability of the photo-editing apps for Android, and remembered about Little Photo which is actually quite nifty and offers lots of filters. These are two that I took last year:

I'm envious of the marvellous snaps on twitter from people using Instagram and have had a go at taking photos on this murky afternoon in the garden, using the filters to try and enhance the photographs. (Still awfully grainy though)

Resolution 1: Learn how to use mobile photo-editing apps, and then use them!

2. Learn how to use the manual settings on my DSLR

Both my grandfather and father were really keen photographers when they were younger (or alive in my grandad's case!) and tried to explain the mechanics of photography to me on several occasions. When I was ten, my dad bought me my first SLR, albeit second-hand and from a boot sale, and I really understood it all. Then I bought a 'point and shoot' and it all fizzled slowly out of my ear. When I met my husband, my MiL gave me her old SLR and I started up again and took some decent shots, but again it all slowly turned to mush in the light of Mr. TheBoyandMe's decent Sony Cybershot.

Then in 2004, I bought a Canon EOS 300D which I adore! And I started with good intentions, but the automatic settings are too easy to resort to. However, this afternoon I had a play with the shutter speed and came up with a slightly ok photograph, but I know that shutter speed has to be taken into account with aperture settings and oh God all manner of things which are beyond me at the moment.

Anyway, photo on the left was taken on automatic settings, one on right was manual. What do I need to do to make that less grainy?

Resolution 2: Learn how to use the manual settings on my DSLR

3. Be in more photos

This is one that I can't control and is therefore more of a prod to Mr. TBaM who reads this blog. He never takes photos, despite having a very good camera that I bought him for Christmas to replace the very good one that had died a month before. It's me that takes the photos, and as a result I'm not in the vast majority of the photos taken since The Boy's birth. And it saddens me.

So, Mr. TBaM stop letting this happen…

…and take some photos please?

Resolution 3: Be in more photos

Pop over to The Gallery linky and check out the other entries

The Gallery: Eyes

And so to this week's Gallery theme.

Which is simply: Eyes

And because the theme is simple, I'm going to choose a simple photo and let it (mostly) speak for itself. I will just say though that I see a wealth of family members in The Boy's eyes. Sometimes they are big and green-ish like his father's, sometimes they are old and blue like my father's. That was disconcerting when I was breast-feeding!

His heritage, and his future, is in his eyes everytime I look at him.

Now click on the button to see the other entries

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