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Preview: ARE WE THERE YET....

Stop and Smell the Gerbera's

time to actively live in the present moment

Updated: 2014-10-02T23:29:49.376-07:00




proud Mummy moment yesterday....Went to see Jess in a play that she and others have been performing around schools in Bristol to years 9. It was written by Catherine Johnson who wrote Mama Mia, for them in conjunction with the Tobacco factory. It covers the topic of domestic violence and is very moving and hard hitting and aimed to get the message across to teenagers. They then hold a workshop and work with the pupils after.They have 4 girls (one being Jess) from the meriton school who first showcased the play last year and then grew the vision to get this play out to schools.The tobacco factory has supplied two Actors and two trainee actors to work alongside the girls. What is really great is these 4 girls have their normal studies to fit in as well as being young mums. They have given up their time and despite most of them having the normal sleepless nights they have got up early and performed several times a day to various schools for the last two weeks. I hope they get further funding to take this play to more schools and reach out to more teenagers as the response they have had has been amazing. Young girls feeling free in the workshops to tell about violence they had been on the receiving end of. Boys being able to hear and work through the reasons why the teenage boy in the play used emotinal and physical abuse to control his girlfriend.
On top of all that the acting was great and very believable the writing as one would expect from Catherine Johnson was spot on, and full credit to her for using her talent and writing this for the girls and giving up her time to help them at rehearsals. Well done Jess and the others.



was feeling unwell today, all shivery and shaky when the postman knocked with two parcels. The first one was a beautiful cake stand I won in a competition and had come all the way from New Zealand. Don't you just love facebook for the way it opens up the world!. My second parcel was from the lovely Oricrafts selling page of facebook. She makes beautiful paper flowers out of vintage papers and they are stunning. I love the facebook selling pages as they provide you with unique things, handmade with such care and detail. So go have a look you will be amazed at the creativity you find

Paper Panda


My new papercut picture from Paper Panda. The lovely Louise who makes the most incredible paper cuts is such a talented lady. I have been looking at her pictures for a while when this one came up for sale and I was lucky enough to be online at the time and bags it for myself. Normally there is a waiting list with an 8 week turn around.I love anything to do with Alice and Wonderland and the next one on my wish list is a similar print with the word 'we are all mad here'
Also have asked her for one based on the 'faraway tree' by Enid Blyton when she is able.
So pop over and look at some of her amazing papercuts....Have a look at the Red ridinghood and the Wolf one, be prepared to be amazed.



Just spent the last hour reading old blog posts on here. Wow it was so therapeutic.So many moments that at the time you think you will never forget! (but I had).So glad I did, it puts all those negative thoughts that creep in so easily in your mind due to some of the things that come day after day stealing your sense of peace and happiness. In the busyness of life and always having things to sort out its so easy to forget or not even realize how good my life really is. Yes there is always the things that you wish were easier and my thoughts today was wouldn't it be great to not buy or do what you need or should do, but instead buy what you want and do what you would really like to be doing. to clarify what I mean by that I will tell you what prompted that thought. Today brought the arrival of a new tumble dryer as the other one has developed a loud pitched annoying squeak that most members and even visitors struggle to bear. Now I really had a battle within about purchasing a new one as it still dried the clothes. To be perfectly honest I hate buying boring items like tumble dryers and can think of lots of nice things I would rather spend my money on. Now if it didn't work and I had been struggling getting everyone's clothes ready then I would have been eagerly awaiting the new arrival. But because it did the job still even though it was annoying I would have carried on till it completely gave up!! Also too much time is taking up washing and drying clothes in this house and I can think of better ways to spend my time knowing that the wash basket will be refilled after working hard to clear it and even more annoyingly with some clothes that have not been worn just got mixed up in the clearing up room process teenagers in this house go through!!
So It was really great to read my blog and remind myself that life is really good and that even though the tumble dryer is on at the moment drying those 'I forgot to put to wash can you get them ready for me by tomorrow clothes' courtesy of the teenagers!, that I can no longer hear it and have spent a peaceful evening without the loud squeak.



In the process of updating my blog to show what all the family have been up to and what my thoughts and take is on life!.
Last month we celebrated Jess 18th with a pre drinks party based on cocktails. If i say it myself rather proud of how my Cocktail cupcakes turned out. I had this idea in my head and its lovely when it comes together and works out.

Also Me and Gary made the blackboard paint glasses that I pinned on Pininterest and although they were harder to get right than I first thought I was very pleased with the end result and can see me using them for the numerous upcoming celebrations in the Anstey household.
Currently I am helping Jess to plan Ruby's 2nd Birthday which is going to be an afternoon tea party. Busy making paper chains, pom pom's and the invitations at the moment.



well all the January birthdays have been celebrated in great style. Both sets of twins and then mine. It was really great that after expressing that I wasn't really that bothered about mine that we ended up having a full family mexican with everyone cooking (great fun!!) followed by a lunch out with the eldest child and youngest grandchild and came home with a present of a very large cake tin from one of my favorite shops Swagger in Chipping sodbury.A meal out on the actual day with my Dad and Hubby, and afternoon tea in a vintage shop/cafe which led me to the idea of doing a afternoon birthday tea with the grandchildren...where lots of the children gatecrashed at the rumors of plenty of cakes.Must tell them all that I'm not really bothered again next year!!



Well we have hosted the first family Christmas celebrations...A Gingerbread House decorating competition.
For half of us it didn't really get further than trying to get the house to stay up!!. I am still feeling the frustration of not getting to do the fun part of adding my decorations, let me just share the biggest disappointment of all my licorice laces with tiny colored balls to be placed around the house as outdoor fairy lights and my snowman and snowballs ready for the garden. Instead our team was left with a house that had decided to condemn itself!!. well 3 teams managed to have not only a house that was standing (an achievement in itself) but decorated. the winner of the under 16's was Jack who team member couldn't make it so he managed this all on his own and got the reward of both prizes!!. the Winning team for the over 18's goes to Kirsty and James with a very traditional Christmas cottage scene. Sam and Jon's entry is worthy of a mention too, one for standing up and two because it was a very close call decorated in a more modern way with edible spray of gold and silver and decorated very well.
So for the rest of us it was a mixture of frustration and complaining about Ikea Gingerbread Houses and laughing at the total disaster. I still think my plan of a log cabin would have been a worthy entry if only it would have stayed up!!
Oh well there is always next years competition of decorating the perfect Christmas cake!!

Getting Ruby over her fear of Christmas trees


So Christmas tree therapy has commenced in the Anstey household.
Step 1 Harry and Jess hung treats on the little tree hoping she would take them off!. not sure this is a good thing long term as can see if she overcomes her fear my big tree getting dismantled bit by bit!
step 2 Sat Ruby on my lap showing her pictures of lots of pretty Christmas trees. seems to have gone well she doesn't seem scared on pictures of them.
step 3 show her the small tree again......Screamed with fear!!
Looked up if there is a name for people suffering from fear of Christmas trees.......
Its called christougenniatiko dentrophobia..
Wonder if there is a support group nearby!!



This Christmas all the family are aiming to have as much fun as possible doing fun things together and have taken the amount spent on presents to a level that leaves no one feeling like any of the fun is taken away by pressure.
We are kicking off with a Gingerbread house decorating competition at our house with Christmas nibbles and drinks.
Now I won't be talking on here about my plans with Gary for ours as the children are known for a bit of snooping.
So as a family that enjoys Christmas everyone is starting to get excited and come up with plans for the different Christmas themed evenings at theirs.
So as one of my children has already put her tree up at hers! (its only November!) Jess arrived home with a very small tree no bigger than 1 foot high to put in her bedroom for her and Ruby.
As she got it out to show us all Ruby reveled her total dislike and fear of it in no uncertain terms. Then when later I was talking about where I was going to place our Christmas Tree, Ruby started screaming at the mere mention of it and madly looking around to see where it was.
Not sure where this has come from and what we are going to do about it as we usually have a very large tree!!



Right in the center of Bristol is my most favorite place to visit.
St. Nicholas Market.
Growing up it was the playground and occasional work of Dishes (stood on an upturned milk crate to reach the sink) at the market cafe my Uncle owned. Or helping (eating) from the deli stall that my Mum and Auntie's worked for my Uncle. All us children would spend our school holidays there.
then as a teenager working for the book stall till I left school.
I just love everything about the place and every time I start to enter the market I can feel myself relax and just soaking up the atmosphere.
I love the way it has evolved and become the source of such variety of food, also how you can just sit and enjoy as we did on Saturday an Italian chocolate with all my children people watching. Because maybe that's one of the best things it has to offer, such an ecliptic mix of people and the chance of finding such lovely things as the handmade wool blanket next to someone selling balloon bouquets.
One day my dream is to have a stall, it's a dream that has never gone although it has changed many times over the years of what that would be a cafe, bookshop ,party shop, unusual gifts the list is endless and sometimes that really doesn't matter just to be there selling again being part of that whole vibe draws me.
So highlight apart from the lovely chocolate, the Italian leather handbag, spending time with all 6 of the children and sister who equally love the place was watching them barter with the purchase of two hats for Jack and Harry and the man selling having just as much fun as the older ones teaching the boys its great fun to barter in the market and threatening to give the £2 saved to the older ones saying they had done all the work to get it and encouraging them to always go for it as they could have walked off without any money off .
Love that place and if you visit Bristol and want to grab a bargain go see the hat man and have some fun



A rare quiet moment in what has been a very busy couple of weeks. hence the lack of blogging!
Confession number one....I haven't stuck to the chuck one thing out each day..although still go around with the attitude of do we want need get rid of this
Confession number two...the garden still needs stage one of clearing ready for new.
Life has been full of Rugby..taking and watching, St. Johns Ambulance..taking
Spending time with all the family.....including two Halloween parties, the first one for all the grandchildren and all their cousin's. involving lots of sweet treats and apple bobbing, and pinata. All the grandchildren dress as characters from Monsters Inc. The second party was geared more towards the adults although all children and teenagers having great fun..this involved lots of great food done in true Halloween style. Black Russians and a blood coloured punch with floating frozen hand and jelly shots. followed by what is now becoming the annual 'Bush Tucker' trail style game.
I was out on the first round and have nothing but admiration for all who tried such things Squid, tongue Wow the teenagers were impressive!!.
Already planning next years Hogwarts party.
Now planning Christmas..this year we are spending less on presents and more on having off to Clearwell caves to meet Santa. Westonbirt for the Christmas lights. Gingerbread house decorating competition and the usual secret loads more



So today has been one of those days where I haven't done very much. Hubby on nights so don't sleep so well and just feel tired. Still keeping to the challenge of getting rid of stuff...mainly coming from the Garden at the moment but did chuck out another top.Thoughts today is how to keep just living in the present when sometimes the past tries to capture your thoughts.Next week would have been my Mum's 70th birthday and the plan was to hold a tea party inviting everyone who knew her and raising money for Ovarian Cancer. But we have all decided that is not very practical at the moment so need to rethink what we are going to do instead.Other thoughts of the moment is the current trend to tear into Mum's these days. If it's not about teenage mum's being talked about badly the other day it was all about older Mum's being selfish for having their children late in life and how unfair it was to their children. Or the constant bringing down of single parents. then to top it all there was an article about Working mum's and how they overcompensate or stay at home mum's and how they over parent!!. I just really hate this whole bringing and tearing down of Mum's..As soon as a child is seen to do something wrong its blame blame blame!! No wonder Children are getting the message of no accountability for their actions they only have to pick up a paper to read how everything is their parents fault!. Now I am sure there truly are some Mum's who really don't care but the idea that this is what is really wrong with society is not a view I hold to. Being a Mum of 6 and knowing that you could both hold me up and pull me down depending at what stage of my journey as a Mum you want to look at! depending which of my children at which particular time is whether you will pat me on the back or look down on me. Guess what you would be wrong both times!!!. Its time we started encouraging Mum's, it's time to go against the trend and stop this Judging attitude. Its time to celebrate all types of Mum's and stop making them feel like they are not good enough we have heard for years how damaging this is to children. Guess what its damaging to MUM'S, and that is not good for them, their children or society. In fact I would go as far as to say that this is one of the biggest reason's things are breaking down in society. Just imagine you put everything into something, it means everything to you, you are constantly doing and trying to be the best you can and yet all you encounter is negative feed back both from society. Lets just focus on the teenage mum a minute. You are constantly hearing how you deliberately got in this situation how you sponge of society how you expect the government and tax payers to pay for you and your child, how your children are growing up disadvantaged. How about if everyone started saying how great teenagers who found out they were pregnant are great at rising to the challenge in most cases, how lots of them go on to study and care for their children, how well they support each other and how they overcome lots of prejudice and slurs everyday even from strangers and yet get up and carry on doing a great job.Yes if this is coming across that it must be personal with me you are right. my beautiful daughter is a teenage mum and a great great mum to my lovely granddaughter. so that puts me in the bad mummy role as her mum and her in the bad mummy role for her child. the assumption will be I must of been a teenage mum...Sorry to disappoint no I wasn't. the assumption being that she would be a mum who didn't breast feed sorry you are wrong again. I could go on and on, but really all I want to say and all I think is lets help Mum's to feel good about themselves. lets stop attacking each other and lets stand together in our differences, in ou[...]



Well the hubby has a few days off and so we are getting stuck into the garden. to be honest yesterday it was Hubby doing all the work and me thinking and planning how I would like it to look. stopping to watch my guilty pleasure of New York housewives. I know the programe is full of grown women acting like mean girls, caring about things rather than people too much. but I am drawn to watch it. I like seeing their houses, love checking out the style and how they do their parties. So although there's a lot not to like about it...the truth is I love watching it.
Anyways back to the garden. while watching the New York housewives they showed one of their gardens in a town house in New York. It was inspired so the housewife said on an English come french garden (whatever that is) anyways it gave me inspiration of the way forward so no longer feel so guilty that Hubby was now doing all the work and realize that my role of visionary is vital to the project. so with that in mind spent further time researching via pininterest on garden inspirations. Then helpfully relayed all my thoughts to hubby who didn't seem that interested and kept mumbling to himself about there being a park down the road at my suggestion of a lovely natural wood childrens swing set.
So today am thinking maybe taking more of an active role and persuading as I go. although already hearing mutters of 'well if you want it to be over cluttered', knowing my real dislike is for things to be over cluttered!!!. Might have to spend some more time researching the way forward in creating the best possible use of this outdoor space.



Well Sunday was another day dominated by rugby...went to watch Jack play.
So today it has been all about deciding what to do with the garden. Gary has spent most of the day stripping it back so we can restart with a blank canvas.
So the main objectives are a place we can sit comfortably in. A great space for the grandchildren to enjoy. We want to take it back to grass and lots of colour and textures and fragrance.
for now will be just stripping and get rid of anything no longer want and just general tidying ready for the winter months, then in spring we will work on bringing in the new.
thoughts at the moment are wigwam. possible climbing swing set to go alongside the play house and reading corner with my fictional places sign.
Then nice comfortable patio set. turf, climbers, outdoor lights, outdoor christmas tree, and plenty of planting around the edges.



Interesting day ahead.
Watching my son-in-in law play rugby with the boys, hubby and , daughter and grandson's.
Followed by a cocktail party for a friends birthday.
So in preparation have had my nails done all in different neon colours.
Need to fit in a look at what needs to go today..After yesterday's marathon sort out in the kitchen will be looking at my wardrobe to choose. I like only getting rid of one or two things at a time from there as it gives me time to really look at and try on and decide what needs to go and helps give me time to really process what way I want to go in style.
Have been using a great site called pininterest which is basically virtual style boards and you get to nose at other's lots of them are American and its great to see coming trends. love it for the inspiration it gives me. have been using it for everything party planning, recipes, home style planning the garden and loads more. Great fun. Now about to start a board to inspire me in what I want to wear that really reflects who I am.



Well its not even Lunch time and we have already sorted loads of stuff to be either passed on or got rid of. the area today was kitchen equipment. Wow how much we collect in this area!!.
Now just in case you are all wondering that this is something we don't do regularly that so not true. So its even more shocking how much stuff still accumulates or gets held onto in the maybe one day it might be useful.
I can not express enough how lighter you feel after doing this. what a great sense of  achievement. Also how much easier life is becoming when we have got just what we need and want to run our lives happily.
So benefits grow daily here is just a few.
I have started wearing some tops that have just been sitting in the wardrobe thinking they didn't fit. (they do Hurrah) and had two complements on the one I choose to wear yesterday.
My house looks tidier.
the things I like are catching my attention and I feel little burst of happiness as I walk around the house.
No money has been spent to achieve this just making good use of what we already had.
It takes a smaller amount of time to clear up the more pots and pans you have I've come to realize the more you use.
The bigger versions of pots and pans that are no longer needed day to day put away in another cupboard and not out on general use, has the knock on affect of being able to fit more in dishwasher so even that job is now faster.
Last but not least Jess has now taken on the challenge and is starting to feel good as she improves and makes her space better for her and Ruby.



Well yesterday's stuff to get rid of became a top that was nice but would suit Jess better so although not out of the house still out of my wardrobe and into hers.
So today's thoughts have really been surrounding something that has been going on for a long time. Not going to explain fully to protect privacy but hopefully will still come across what is for me a very important thought.
So here goes, I've got a relationship not with family or friend but one that has to kept for a reason. maybe insert here someone you work with regularly (probably the best way to describe it ) you need this relationship to work but you really struggle with the person. you need to be assertive but you also need to make sure that however annoying you find this persons way of communication and actions that it would be a bad move to make it worse.
so for ages I have not liked the affect this person has on me and have spoken to people i love and respect to check out if it is something that I need to change to improve this. feedback has been mainly under the heading of ignore, don't worry, be assertive and tell them (not angrily) put boundaries in. No its not you been sensitive its someone stepping over a line. politely but firmly point it out.
so anyway today's 'now' moment came....I have been tempted to force it unnaturally on many occasions also very tempted to angrily say what I know has been needed to say.
The opening was there for me today to state what needed to be said with no offence taken put firmly in place my boundary and guess what. It was no problem for the other person and was understood it was my right to do this.
so thoughts for today..... is it because I am british?, working class and my upbringing makes it very difficult to deal with situations like this. why do I hesitate to politely stand up for myself when someone else has no problem being rude. then usually end up feeling stressed and annoyed or worse letting it build up till it ends in anger.
Why do I worry so much about what someone who I actually am not impressed with the way they say and do things will think if I stand up for myself
Ah well got there in the end and the perfect moment was given so it could be said in a non point scoring way :)



Change of name again..thought roses are a bit old fashioned and love Gerbera's so as this blog is evolving to be very much a Now seemed more fitting



so what did I chuck out piece of clothing...reason was that with a critical look it really was past its best and looking very tired.

Had a lovely day yesterday spent with hubby on day off discovered a new place to shop on the Gloucester road and treated myself to a beautiful pink scarf bargain for £12. this is also one of the positives about getting rid of stuff you don't want there is room for things that you really do want.
Then went to watch Jack play rugby for school team. one proud moma!! was stood on sidelines and a few of the other parents were talking about how good he was. step up and say that's my son :).
Realized I could quickly turn into competitive embarrassing Mum very quickly. Oh well Jack is eager for me to come again so can't have been that bad.

Today enjoying spending time with Grandson and still laughing at length of text with instructions from his Mum.

Thinking about today:
Enjoying every moment possible
What to get rid of today...Gary had a tooth taken out not sure that counts
Being mindful when shopping at Cosco



Well more on this de-cluttering......Was reading an article that sets a challenge to throw at least one thing out every single day for a year!
so I am thinking today about taking this challenge up
so here is my for and against
It would be a great to make this way of thinking a daily thought of what we still want or no longer need. becoming more of a way of life rather than a season.
would make it less of a task and could fit into the busiest of days

what if i couldn't find something I want to get rid of run out of things...sure this will prove to be an unnecessary fear. due to the way stuff just seems to get in one way or the other.

The writer of this article found that it made them even more mindful of what they brought and if they really wanted or needed it.
they have found a natural by product has been that they waste less money on thoughtless purchases and feel good about the things they have as they have really spent time considering each item in their lives giving them a new sense of satisfaction and enjoyment in them after they've passed the test of do I really want you.

So yes after consideration I am going to take this challenge off to look for what needs to go today.



So have been on a real simplify our lives agenda which has been lots of journey's to the tip and charity shops
If you want to stay in the Anstey household (people excluded from this criteria!)
you have to be used regularly or seasonally
you have to be liked visually or practically
We have to want to choose you if we were going out today to look for you

We have become addicted to de-cluttering our stuff..Both me and Gary have always been quite good at this but now we have taken it to a whole new level
It has become a daily cry I never liked this what do you me neither. or a shout of we don't want this do I don't.
It is so freeing, I need to say this again IT IS SO FREEING
Its shocking how many emotional attachments and memories and feelings are in STUFF....
Those clothes you force yourself to see every time you go to the wardrobe that you are going to fit into (but haven't) guess what they aren't inspiring you they are reminding you to feel many negative emotions which probably are helping you to comfort yourself with the food. Because the real truth is Even if you lose the weight guess what you aren't going to wear them because if you do lose that weight you are going to be running to the shops to buy lots of lovely new clothes
they are also giving you a false idea that you have enough clothes. so when you go to go out you try lots of outfits on that don't fit or flatter the best way to inspire you is to buy and keep clothes for now that fit you now that you like now that you look good in now. When we feel good about ourselves when we no longer opt out of going somewhere because of the awful process of trying the clothes that don't fit and come to believe that we will naturally treat ourselves and our bodies better

A quick up date on family life


so my last but one post talked of the arrival of Ruby and this catch up starts with the newest arrival to our clan Harvey-Jon Earl who arrived very battered and bruised and left his mummy in much the same condition yet has thrived and proved to be such a strong baby. Sam is nearing the end of her maternity leave with Jon soon to take over for 3 months due to changes in the law regarding Dads taking some of the leave.



Every post usually starts with it's been ages since I've blogged!! this one is probably the longest time of not using it.
so why now start to reuse??? well I have been reading a few blog's lately and have enjoy them so am going to start again Also maybe just back in that space that it appeals to put things down in writing again.
I am going to change the name and probably with it will come a new feel to it.
so Are we there yet... is now going to become stop and smell the roses. Not going to go into any big explanations as don't want to put limits on it but just the sense of sharing things that interest me right now, things I am thinking or doing right now hopefully all will be come clear as blogging commences



Well soooooooo much has happened since my last post

Ruby Elizabeth Maxine Anstey-Williams has arrived and she is beautiful
Jess is doing an amazing job as a Mum so so proud of her
Sam is now Mrs Earl and we had a wonderful day celebrating with her

The above 3 sentences does not even begin to describe the wonderful times we have been having as a family



Well Jess is now 4 days overdue. The boys are still home on easter hols and so trying to keep them amused while Gary is working hard has been challenging at points. ?Its hard to plan days out with the not knowing when the baby is coming. At least the weather has been good which has made things easier.
We need to get the kitchen floor sanded and Gary had arranged next week off to get it done as we had wrongly guessed that the baby would have been here by now. So unless she comes in the next couple of days not sure when he is going to be able to get it done in time for Sams wedding.