Sunday, 9 December 2007

Honey I'm home!

Back to the real world, a cold and wet Britain haha. The house felt strangely odd, even though now it seems normal again, and driving to church this morning also felt bizarre.

The flight was fine, we all managed to sleep alot which we were pleased about. And for the few hours that I was awake... I made some cards haha! Crafty people - have you heard of Amy Butler? There is a huge buzz around her at the moment for her textile designs and she has bag patterns that alot of crafters are following. Her lines are now creeping into the papercraft market too and I brought some cute card kits in Singapore to keep me occupied on the flight home.

The patterns are really cute aren't they? They were very simple card packs with die-cut panels, rub-ons and pre-patterned card blanks which were perfect to do on a small seat on a plane, not the kind of kit I would usually buy though. I just love the patterns on the card blanks!

So I've unpacked the backpack and stored it safely away (again!) and caught up on alot of washing. Let's see what Monday brings for me! Good luck for the girls that are back to work tomorrow, a harsh strike of reality for you two - boo hoo. Happy week off for you Katie! And lucky travels for you Julie!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Wet through


For fundraising info on Dad, click here

We have left Pauline and Neil's and arrived safely. It was really sad to leave them and I got a bit emotional!

We are staying in the most random place, it looks like a high rise council block from outside, yet the top floor, floor 25, is renovated into about five apartment rooms and it is really nice. Very strange!

It has not stopped pouring with rain all day though so you should not be too jealous of us. Deb and I got lost coming back from the tube station, got totally drenched through and then no cabs would stop for us and noone knew where our place was when we asked! Eventually we got a cabby to stop but it was a bit of a drama. We are supposed to off out tonight to Raffles hotel for a Singapore Sling! If we can make it to find a cab that is...

Singapore Sling!

For fundraising information on Dad, click here. The story for our fundraising made the front cover of the Barking and Dagenham recorder today, although in true newspaper style it is quite bluntly put, but hopefully it will raise awareness for both the drug and our fundraising.

The newspaper story is here

Seems a bit more trivial now, but our update for our last night or two in Singapore...

We had a very eventful evening at the Raffles hotel last night - and quite unexpected! We set off in our best clothes (it says in the guide book they turf you out if you look like rif raf haha) and got a taxi to one of the most famous hotels we know. It was amazing! The hotel was decorated with elaborate Christmas decorations and as we walked into the hotel it had the most amazing Christmas tree - it looked just like the house in the film, Annie.

Deb put on her poshest voice and told the waitor "We are here for a Singapore Sling" which we found hilarious, and they showed us to some seats in their bar. It was lovely. And so were the Singapore Sling drinks which we weren't expecting! So we had more than one haha. We had a lovely evening, chatting and being very civilised, enjoying an evening of luxury - but much more was to follow, little did we know!

When we were ready to leave, like true tourists we took a few photos in the lobby when a guy at the other bar in there asked if we wanted him to take a group one. As we were preparing to leave afterwards the waitor (who is now our mate Gary!) came over and said the gentleman at the bar would like to buy us a drink. After much deliberation (we had our sensible heads on parents of course) we decided why not, as we were in the most expensive hotel in town and we are backpacking! So we were shown to a table and presented with champagne. And not just any old champagne, oh no, but a $580 bottle of Dom Perignon which is about 200 pounds! I am not sure but that might well be the most expensive drink we have ever been brought! Until later...

We were soaking up the luxury and later were introduced to Brett and his boss George, who are regulars at the Raffles hotel when they are in town on business, oh er. And actually, you would expect them to be very cheesy but they were very nice guys from Papua New Guinea. We were also presented with a bowl of strawberries to go with our lovely champagne, who could refuse. The pianist had been playing happy birthday earlier so we decided it would be fun to pretend it was Debbie's birthday today! So that got her a cheeseboard too as she managed to slip into the conversation that she would choose cheese over a birthday cake any day haha.

George had been trying to impress a wine conoisseur at the bar he said and so ordered 'a bottle of their finest' except he didnt realise until later that the finest indeed was the finest, coming inat a total of $12,000 a bottle! He offered Stacey a glass of this red so she drank a glass worth about 800 pounds we worked out haha. How funny!As we were leaving we were told their was a bus booked for us to take us girls on a little sightseeing tour of Singapore and then home, all expenses paid.

We were going to take our own taxi instead but our mate Gary told us the company was very safe and they would get us home safely so as it is paid for we would be fine. So we took a little tour of Singapore, sang a bit of karaoke and rolled up home about 2am in the end. Well we certainly had a great time and it was a highlight of the trip - how great to be spoilt like that.

Today we just looked around the markets and had an easy day after the night before. Tonight we went out for something to eat with a travelling buddy, Pete, who the girls met in New Zealand. That was our last night really except for tomorrow evening when we meet Julie and James for one final meal before they head off on more travels and we leave for home.

We will see you all at the weekend!

What a wonderful world...

That's it - we are all packed and ready to come home! My bag is, er, just a tad heavier than when I left home but hey, that's what shopping in Singapore does for you. We all did different things today - I headed off to a shopping centre that had been recommended to me by a crafting buddy as a couple of great craft shops - and they weren't wrong! The display of one of them was done out like a sweet shop, it was so cute.

We just chilled in a restaurant by the river which was really nice, it did rain alot but hey, what else do we expect! We ended up there for hours as we had til very late that night for our flight, and Pete joined us again.

I've had a great time, and even though my trip has been alot shorter than originally planned, I am so glad I joined the girls and we have crammed so much in, it couldn't have been any more fun! So many highlights - sailing around the Whitsunday Islands, Kroombit cattle station, Surf camp, swimming with dolphins, seeing Pauline and Neil in Perth - the list goes on. And I'm so glad I did it with the girls too as that made it all the more special!

So we are off ready for our 14 hour flight from Singapore home - see you all soon and thanks for all your comments along the way!

Jenny x

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Fundraising for a good cause

Hi everyone

As many of you will know, my dad is currently having treatment for bowel cancer, and he is coping very well with it so far. There is another drug which he can have to go alongside his chemotherapy which the doctors think will be of benefit, called Avastin, but it will not be funded on the NHS so we are going to raise the money ourselves. The total we need to raise for a full course of the drug is 18,000 pounds.

We have formed a fund to start collecting already although we have not got facilities to donate online just yet (we are trying to set it up now), and we will be doing fundraising over the next few months.

The first event is a sponsored walk that the four grandchildren are doing - this is to be held at Eastbrook End Country Park Millennium Centre in Dagenham, at 2.30pm on Sunday 16th Dec.

If anybody would like to either sponsor the children or donate in general, we would really appreciate any help, large or small, that you can give. For family/close friends who are local to us, you can pledge a sponsor to the children and we can collect it later following the event. Alternatively the fund is being held by our church to make the accountancy side of it simple so you can send a cheque through to us at home made out to "St. Erkenwalds PCC" marked on the back as "Jeff Cocks". Please include a cover note saying if you are a tax payer stating so, along with your full name and address so they the fund can claim back an extra 28% as Gift Aid.

Please email me on for information and my home address.

If you want to know anything else please feel free to ask away and I realise not everyone will be able to support in terms of donations, but we appreciate your support in all ways. I will be home on Saturday from travelling to get stuck in with all of this alongside my two sisters.

Thanks to everyone for all your support so far with the family too

Jenny x

Rottest Island

When I came to stay with Pauline and Neil last time with my mum, we visited Rottnest Island and I had been telling the girls how lovely it was - my memories did not disappoint me! It is just so gorgeous, the only place that has rivaled the beaches for me so far is Whitehaven Bay at the Whitsunday Islands. It is just beautiful.

We hired bikes for the day and met Julie and James over there - we spent the day cycling around the bays a little, having a swin (in the freezing waters!) and a little lay on the beach.

The strange little creatures here are called Quokka's and I think they are like half kangeroo and half rat haha.

I can't believe that we are leaving Pauline and Neil's today. Last night we went over to Julie's relatives for a bbq which was lovely, and then we came back for our last eve at Pauline and Neil's. I am really sad to leave as we have had a lovely time here. It is now onwards as Singapore is calling for a few days then home!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

A touch of craft...

Here are just a few of the quick cards I have started making while I am here. I couldn't resist once I had brought some supplies! They are of course just cut and stick ones - no chance for good techniques with a limited supply of tools including scissors, glue and tape haha. I have also brought some of the good aussies mags too for inspiration - Scrapbook Creations, Stamping and Papercraft and For Keeps. They are doing alot of offers where you buy the current mag and get one or even two back issues free - great for me! Can't wait to get making things again when I get home.

Brits on tour

Yesterday we went on a little visit to the Swan Valley vineyards to see how the finest vino is made. As it wasn't harvest time we didn't actually see any of the making process but they gave us a tour of the factory before we headed back to the wine bar for a little tasting of each wine on the menu!
They brought out the cheese and crackers for us too (they must know us so well!) and it was actually very interesting to learn about the different wines.

It was quite late by the time we left there so we headed to Cottesloe Beach for some traditional fish and chips by the sea - Brits on tour! Snapper is the local fish here so we all had that with chips and sat on the windy sea front. Cottesloe Beach is the one where GMTV film every year at Christmas for all the relatives living in Australia to wave to their relies at home. Neil and Pauline haven't ever done that though, charming haha. Neil assures us this year...

We headed down to Freemantle harbour in the evening to meet back up with Julie and James again and some of their relations for a drink - it is a really nice place in the evening, a good buzzing atmosphere. We went to 'Little Creatures' which is a brewery/pub and it was really funky.

This morning we had a very lazy Sunday morning starting with a lie in before we were treated to a bbq breakfast! The first for many of the girls and it was really nice. Pauline and Neil really have been very kind to us looking after us so well.

After a slow start we left to visit Hilary's Harbour which is a gorgeous little tourist place to visit. The sun was shining, we looked in a few souvenir shops and grabbed a little lunch.

After that we went to check out the markets in Fremantle but we were a little late haha, so we had an ice cream instead. That's about it so far and we are all shattered!

We told Neil he should become a photographer, what do you reckon? Only as his second job of course, being a tour guide should be his first haha! I am gonna be in trouble if he reads this during this week haha.