Thursday, 23 April 2015

Kit and Clowder - Colouring Competition on the theme Fantasy or Fairy

This week (week ending 7 March) I was going to post about my first entry into a colouring competition at the fabulous Kit and Clowder Facebook page, but last when I was finishing my hot chocolate I checked my Facebook oh my I noticed that I had been mentioned in a post by Alyce and low and behold I had been randomly selected as the top prize for this week’s completion which was fantasy and won a $20 voucher.  I was beyond surprised and pleased at this …. Oooh errrr

I coloured this image about three times and on the first one the mane was a bit rubbish and I won’t even mention the tail.  

The second one, the mane went well but the tail was a disaster.  I even tried my ‘blender pen’ but that made it worse … 

I even contemplated using a different digi stamp and colour ways.  But these were even worse.

My entry eventually turned out to be the third try and I was still not happy with the tail (I must must must get on with my skin and hair class lol).  But I was happy enough to make a card which I did and just as I was about to fine tune my cutting out, the power went off and stayed off for two hole hours.

I also raided my hardware collection and this is what I made finally.

Roll on this week’s completion for which you gain two entries if you use a unicorn in the design.  So come join the fun at Kit and Clowder and perhaps you will take the plunge and going a class and go on your own colouring voyage of discovery with the most supportive group on Facebook.

Friday, 27 February 2015

... and normal service is resumed

So this time last week I was working on a project for the one year anniversary awards at the Kit and Clowder Facebook page.

It was late last year that I was looking for a way to improve my colouring and saw an advert or a mention of Kit and Clowder and looked at their website and coveted their colouring classes which are fabulous and give one on one feedback for each and every image uploaded to their feedback section of the class.  As I was not able to immediately take a class I did join their facebook page and I am so glad I did.  This is such a friendly supportive environment for beginners and advanced alike.  So supportive in fact that I entered my first challenge on this page and have attempted to enter each challenge ever since.  Plus the prize for this one was amazing.

So the anniversary challenge was posted by the owner of the classes and this page the wonderful Alyce Keegan. She uploaded a digital word image of what Kit and Clowder means to her (see below). 

"the challenge::  I've created a little word art here to show you all what Kit and Clowder represents and means to me.  The challenge is I would love to see you create any project using the word art as inspiration in any way ... you can use any one or combination of the words (eg you might pick a stamp showing Exploring or a group of people was friendship), you could use the colours as inspiration, the rose as inspiration, etc. anything you like.  I would love to see you all participate "

I spent about six hours on Thursday working on it - well getting everything ready for final assembly.  I finally stopped and ate something at 22:30 - oh yes that was 22:30.

I was then up and at them shortly after getting up the following day!  All the bits were ready but I needed to put them all together which took a while, I will admit.  Then I put the base together all wrong do had to so that and then I managed to put a crease where there shouldn’t have been one which was a mistake oh sorry an embellishment opportunity.  Try and spot where.

Then just as I was about to finish the power did its usual trick of going off for about an hour which meant that I stayed up longer than anticipated.  I really wanted to upload this on Friday to make sure that I was entered in time (all this Australian time difference it quite confusing).  So on Friday I went to bed without eating anything at all but was pleased with my end result.  And here it is …

Here are some more detailed photos of my entry ...


This is a Stampin' Up! World map that just to happens to show Egypt and the diamante is placed right where Luxor is. 

Alyce has a cat called Lila or Lila Bear who is a bit of a Diva

My entry was one of 120 entries in the event and the awards were drawn on Saturday starting at about 13:00 Egypt time (21:00 Brisbane time).  And to my very great surprise I was placed second in the Clowdies award.  All the entries were fabulous and I was shocked that I managed to win something as I never usually win anything.

The awards, and the categories themselves had many interesting titles and Alyce managed to mention each and every entry, having finalists and winners, in each category.

My prize was a pick of the latest releases from the fabulous sponsor Visual Image (  I chose my image and then, of course, had to purchase the rest of the set.

As I said previously, out of all the groups I belong to on Facebook and yahoo, this is the only place that I have felt comfortable enough to enter the challenges as with regards colouring I am a total beginner.  Part of this is because I know the group is really supportive of everything posted and everyone; not just of crafting stuff but of life in general.  Check out this wonderful page (they do have a book club too) and you never know you may embark on one of Alyce’s classes and start a wonderful colourful and creative journey like me.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

... and now for something completely different

Those who know me know that I have usually got my nose in a book and since learning to teach I have been able to access the wonderful website Netgalley which gives educators, professional bloggers and librarians the chance to read Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of upcoming books in various categories/genres.  You request the books you are interested in and are either authorised or declined depending on your profile, your reviews, and the demographic requirements of the publisher. 

Unlike many reviewers I do not include a précis of the novel (that is what the ‘blurb’ is for) but rather concentrate on my experience of the novel thereby giving an honest review.

As you know, I got behind in my blogging and have not posted many of my reviews here but that is going to change.  Whenever I post a review on Netgalley it will also appear on my page at Goodreads, Amazon, The LibraryThing, Facebook, and at However, any craft books read will be reviewed here.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

When will this horrendous year end?

I was not the only one to experience a bite from a cat last year.  Hubbly Bubbly visited in October and he was stroking Marky who, not knowing him too well, went for him and bit the back of his hand (on his birthday no less).  So first aid mode kicked in and I cleaned the wound, which was barely bleeding, with TCP, and then used the antibiotic spray and cream I used and gave him anti-inflammatory tablets.  We thought this was working well and HB continued to work on his train set (oh sorry model railway J).  But after being active with his hand for two weeks he had a couple of days when he did absolutely nothing. 

We went out for a meal the evening before his departure and his hand although still a bit swollen was fine.  However, it was a different story when he touched down at Heathrow Airport where his hand had become a balloon.  So HB went straight from the airport to his local hospital and in turn to a specialist hospital.  

on arrival at East Grinstead - 14 October 2014

He had two surgeries (here was talk of further plastic surgery) and was in hospital for nearly a week, followed by various out-patients visits.  

After first operation - 15 October 2014

Another from after the first operation

After the second operation - 16 October 2014

hospital check-up 21 October 2014

after the stitches have been removed - 30 October 2014

A shout out goes to my dad who ferried Neil to all his hospital appointments in deepest darkest East Grinstead.  Dad even made a round trip to from Bognor Regis to take him on one of his appointments. Dad I miss you everyday and hope you come and visit real soon.

Neil only recently returned to work (after a couple of months off) and has finally been signed off by the hospital on 19 December.  He has had a risk assessment and he is driving trains although he has to be accompanied.  He has to wait for another occupational health assessment on 4 February when he should be given the all clear.

The comparison in scars though is amazing.  Mine are tiny and his are so large and angry still.

One would have hoped that that was the end of our troublesome year but no.  In December one of our furbabies decided to disappear for a couple of days and when she came home she had a lump either side of the base of her tail.  She was constantly crying and not her normal 'Hi' or 'I'm hungry' cry.  It really hurt her when I touched it; so I decided to take her to ACE.  But she left again and hid for two days.  

She had just come back in and I had just called a taxi when my cleaner arrived and let her out ... so i had to cancel the taxi and again wait until she came back.  She finally arrived home on 30 December and the lump had disappeared and there was a huge open wound.  So I took her to the vets from ACE at their evening clinic on 31 December and all the skin that was on her tail was about an inch on the top of the base of her tail.
I was given antibiotic injections to give her twice a day; and antibiotic powder to put on her wound and also to add honey.  I had to keep her secluded in my craft room so we could leave the wound open.  Three day's later was a further visit (with Hubbly Bubbly in two - he had just arrived for a two week stay yay!!).  The vet took off more of her hair to see the wound more clearly and it was looking better.  I had to give her more antibiotics (tablets this time - oh my) and still honey the wound.

Towards the end of January though she managed to escape the house with slightly open wounds but she did come back a while later thank goodness and she has turned into quite a home bunny

Today one side is totally healed but the larger wound still had a scab on it but she is active and a lovely cat.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Getting pets to vet - oh my!

Talking of Button in August I think it was he came home limping and after a week or so he had not improved.  Although I thought it was a sprain I decided to take him to Animal Care in Egypt (ACE).  Well the first time I tried to take him he managed to escape the basket and shoot off as I got to the bottom of the stairs into the garden.  The next time was a bit more serious and detailed below.

So on to the tribulations of Thursday 18 September.  Emad (our landlord’s eldest son) had offered to take me (at 10.00 am) and so I was waiting for him.  A friend of mine her soft cat case as I couldn't find mine.  I got Button in but he managed to escape by the time I got to the gate.  I re-captured him put him back in but as I tried to close the case he escaped again. 

I caught him yet again but couldn't close the bag.  So I called Emad to help me by closing the cat carrier and that is when the trouble started.  Apparently Button hates and I mean really hates Egyptian men.  (I always thought he didn't like my cleaner because of the noise he made but it was more serious than that.).  As Button escaped the bag again I caught him by the scruff of his neck and he then proceeded to bite be as he was frightened.  I wasn't sure what to do next as it was really, really painful.  My brain then kicked in and I let go of Button and then he let go of me and that was when the blood started to flow.  Emad was quick witted and got the towel out of the cat carrier and wrapped it round my hand and then drove me to the local hospital.  That was when the comedy of errors ensued.

A nurse saw me and called another nurse.  For some reason a foreigner in the hospital was an event!  The wound was cleaned and I was told that they could not do anything else, not even dress it as the bite wound had to be allowed to the air!  But it was still bleeding!  So they called a doctor who said that it was their policy not to dress bite wounds.  They then injected me with the rabies vaccine and a pain killer.  I was then x-rayed to check that the bite didn't enter the wound and it was clear.  They wanted over 200le and Emad negotiated the fee and I ended up only paying 20le in baksheesh.  The tourist police that followed me round wouldn't take anything.

I was surprised whilst in the x-ray department as the guy that took us there started to smoke under a no smoking sign.  Then the tech light up a cigarette when he went into the developing room.  The first guy then took us back to the Dr and on the way dropped his ciggy, without extinguishing it, on the stairs.  Then the doctor was smoking in his office.  Plus the place was filthy.

I called Jos who happened to answer her phone on the way back from the hospital and she was there when I got home.  At this time it was mid-day and, guess what! the wound was still bleeding, or rather slowly oozing.  So between us we decided that I would go to the St Joseph Clinic (I had asked Emad to take me there and he’d said that it would mean a payment to them … well yes!).

So off we went to the Clinic and they were FAB.  I told them I had been to a local hospital but they were fine with that.  They said that although they would not stitch the wound (as they didn't stitch bites) they clean the wound and dress it and check my bloods to see if I had a coagulation problem.  The wound was sorted and then the phlebotomist came in and she couldn't find a vein, so she went in the back of my hand and had to jiggle the needle round and still didn't get enough blood (result a rather large bruise).  I said I had one on the inside of my arm but she wouldn't believe me and so tried the outside of my arm – again no joy.  Then just as she was about to attack an ankle another chap came in and got enough blood from the outside of my left wrist, so I got some lovely bruises. 

I was told to clean the wound twice a day and was diligent in my efforts.  The first bandage change was the worst as the dressing was saturated and I shared the progress on my Facebook page.  But will share some here too ...

the first bandage change the morning of 19 September 2014
(i did this twice a day for two weeks)

Day 4 - 22 September 2014

Day 6 - 26 September 2014

Well I can tell you that I have the faintest of wounds and all thanks the Clinic on St Joseph Street.

5 October 2014

Monday, 26 January 2015

On a more personal note

The other week I explained what had been happening in Egypt at large over the period of my absence from the blog so today I will detail part of what has happened to me personally during this interval.

Strangely quite a bit has been happening. 

Those of you that know me know that I am a Bookaholic and I found out that certain people namely professional bloggers, teachers (that’s me) and librarians can get access to free galley proofs of books that have recently been published or are yet to be published and in return the reader needs to give an honest review.  I am in book/kindle heaven.  What is good about this is that it allows me to read books that I wouldn't normally for good or ill.  However, sometimes the review process takes longer than the reading of the book :).  My reviews have been posted on Goodreads and Amazon.  But in 2015 I will be posting them here so there should be loads of added activity.

So from a good thing to a sad thing. 

In March my upstairs neighbour suddenly died.  I got a shock call from his wife at 5.30 am.  He had been experiencing chest pains for a week or so and had been to the local hospital/clinic and they said that it was something to do with is oesophagus but they gave him GTN spray and that seemed to ease the pain.  On the Monday, he had booked a ticket to go to the UK the following Monday to go to hospital to have more investigations.  Yet he woke up on Tuesday and said he didn't feel well and then died. 

I was her right hand person that day accompanying her to the local police station and then to the court to see the prosecutor and let him know that there was no foul play.  I liaised with friends of the couple to get them over to attend the funeral which occurred within 7 hours of the death.  It was a really good turnout and it was interesting to attend although very sad to see a dear friend laid to rest.

This couple were more than friends they were as close to family as one could get.  They had adopted me on my arrival in Egypt but gave me enough space, and often made me do things on my own so that I got to know the lay of the land.

Unfortunately, the widow decided to leave Egypt as this was more her husband’s dream than her’s and I said that I would adopt her animals. Unfortunately two weeks before her departure her dog, the lovely Kayla had to be put to rest.  She had not been handling the loss of her master.  Another as day.

Another good thing though was that Hubbly Bubbly was here at the time and we gave the widow a good send off.

I miss the deceased and his dog every day and think about his widow loads as well.  But she is far happier in her new home in the UK and she needed to do what was best for her.

This is how I will remember him …

My Hubbly Bubbly stayed for a few weeks in May and I went back with him and had two weeks in England (only my second visit back to blighty in four years).

Due to the vacation of the upstairs flat, we decided to move up a floor so on my return the place was in chaos.  The plan was that this would have all been finished for my return back to Egypt but this is Egypt and things never go as one expects.

Months later I am eventually in and the place looks lovely.  The colour I had chosen for the wall looked blue at the time but in reality is more a very very pale green and quite soothing. 

In addition to the four cats and one dog that I already had, I inherited three more cats and a tortoise.  Although they all know each other there are two that really dislike each other and there are constant fights.  Marky is the main culprit and has taken to taking his frustrations out on my girls, and Ambrose too – well everyone really especially when he gets told off.  Yet once he gets to trust you (and yes this has taken months and had involved a number of scratches and bites) he can be really loving liking his snuggles and tummy rubs; I even throw him over my shoulder like my best boy Button.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

What has been happening in Egypt since the Arab Spring

I can’t believe that it has been more than two years since I last posted here so I suppose my New Year Resolution should be to be more active on my blog.

I am sure you are wondering the reasons for the absence.  One was that due to the Arab Spring the internet connection was very iffy.  In fact at one stage they turned it off completely together with the mobile telephone network.

As many of you are probably aware there was the Arab Spring which, here in Egypt, meant the disposal of Mubarak as president of the country on 11 February 2011 following 18 days of mass protests mainly in Tahrir square.  The majority of the protests took place in Cairo and Luxor (a distance of 721 Km or 447 which is further than the distance between Crawley and Edinburgh, which is 356 miles as the crow flies) was pretty much unaffected.  There were one or two demonstrations in the beginning but they died down very quickly.

Following a transitional period overseen by Field Marshal Tantawi a new constitution was drawn up and there were the first ‘democratic’ elections which saw Morsi inaugurated as president on 30 June 2011.  What followed was a year of inactivity and inattention to the problems facing Egypt in favour of furthering the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

I did manage to meet Morsi when he visited Luxor and asked him why there was no police presence as a friend of mine had been broken into and various items were stolen.  As with any politician he gave a non-answer and was more interested in his freebie visit that on dealing with questions from the populous.  The photo was posted on Facebook and the very brief interview was apparently shown on television – when I went shopping the following week someone said they had seen me.  (If I find the picture I will post it).

After a year of his rule, Egypt was in a worse place than they ever were under the corrupt Mubarak, diesel shortages, gas shortages and electricity shortages and hence drastic price increases.  The populous eventually said enough is enough and on 30 June 2012 there was a coup d'état after millions of protesters across Egypt took to the streets and demanded the immediate resignation of the president. And on 3 July 2013, when he was removed by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.  Sisi presided over an interim government and following a landslide election President Sisi was sworn into office on 8 June 2014.

When I moved here I did not envision myself living through not one but two revolutions and unlike many other countries that have suffered the same fate; and worse, Luxor was left unscathed.  Whilst there are still the odd protest by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood (which Sisi has subsequently outlawed) these are still occurring in Cairo and do not affect Luxor at all.  But as one would do in any other country visitors need to be aware of the situation within which they find themselves and if they are confronted by a hoard of people they should make efforts to remove themselves from that situation.  That being said Luxor is very very safe and unaffected. 

So if you are interested in a cheap holiday with lots of sun please come and visit this wonderful country.  You will see some wonderful sights and will be welcomed with open arms.  Please note the Pyramids are in Cairo not Luxor which has a plethora of tombs and temples, including Karnak, the biggest temple complex in the world.  Come and escape the madness of the 21st Century and take a step back in time.