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Showing posts from 2011

Christmas Countdown: 7 Days to Go!

Hi everyone! Only seven days to go and I thought that today I would share the most wonderful old Walt Disney cartoon with you 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' Enjoy! Until the next time, Denise x

Countdown to Christmas: 8 Days to Go!!

So, 8 days to go and after my blog post yesterday the weather witch looked favourably upon us and granted us a dusting of snow and although it's not much it really does look pretty. I decided that today I would go shopping and get some of the important things bought bearing in mind that I have no presents, wrapping paper etc. etc. So, here are my first purchases! I know!! It's maybe not the most important thing to be thinking about at the moment but it is one less thing to worry about. This of course doesn't include the wine, champagne and gin that my OH bought. So, that's the drinks taken care of. My next port of call was my local 'garden centre'. This shop is one of the most beautiful shops around and I truly believe I could live there. After a bit of lunch we had a look around. Every year I buy a new decoration for the tree and so I thought I would do that today seeing as I think we will decorate the tree(s) tomorrow. I say trees as we haven't qui

Countdown to Christmas: Day 9

Santa Claus Well, I have to say, much as love Christmas I haven't really felt very Christmassy - until today. I'm not sure why it just hit me today but all of a sudden I started to get a bit excited about it all so I thought I would share my countdown to Christmas with you. So, 9 days to go and this is where I'm at. I have managed to buy a couple of presents so far and...that's it. I still have most of the presents to buy. I haven't written my cards yet. I have no wrapping paper. I have no food bought. We have a houseful of people staying over Christmas and I haven't started getting any of the rooms ready for them. The tree hasn't been bought yet and all the decorations are still in the attic. I hope you're beginning to get the picture. I am completely and totally NOT ready for Christmas!! Am I worried about this?  YES! Slightly! No - not at all! My way of looking at it is that I now really feel like it's Christmas and so I'm feeling

Right or Wrong?

Image Today I'm going to be writing about something a bit controversial and I would really like to hear your thoughts and opinions on it. One of my friends was on the phone earlier and I could tell that she was upset about something. Eventually it came out that she had had a row with her husband. I previously knew there was a (what I thought was a small) problem but I hadn't realised it had become so serious. For obvious reasons I'm not going to mention her name and I'm not going to mention what the problem is but it's something that's very important to her but not so important to her husband. So, to cut a long story short, there's something that she wants that would make her life much easier and much smoother - her husband doesn't see it that way and has point blank said no. No compromises, no discussion. No! (For anyone wondering, this has nothing to do with babies). They have been married for several years, have no children, both have good jobs

Exciting New Project!

I love my job(s)! People are always telling me how lucky they think I am to do the work that I do and they are right, I am very lucky to have a job singing and teaching others to sing, but every so often I feel like having a change. As they say 'a change is as good as a rest' and because I totally agree with that I am launching a new business. This is the reason for not blogging, tweeting or facebooking much lately. I've been busy setting up 'Handmade by Yvie'. Of course I will never give up my other work completely but I will be cutting back a bit on the hours I spend doing it and I am really looking forward to doing something completely different alongside it. For a few years now I have been making cards, tags and the odd bit of stationery. I love working with paper and over the last while there have been some huge leaps forward in the techniques and materials that can be used to create these items. Many of these new techniques have become popular because of t

A Little Something to Keep in Mind

Versatile Blogger Award

Hi folks - I'm finally back!! Apologies for not posting for a while but I have been incredibly busy with rehearsals and concerts etc. and I had to have a self-enforced break from Social Media sites and blogging as I know that I would spend too much time there and not enough doing the other things I needed to do. I'm thrilled to say that, in the meantime, Cupcakes and Cadenzas has been awarded a 'Versatile Blogger Award' by Girls Who Love to Read  (Please click on the link to visit this entertaining blog). Thank you so much for this. It's nice to be reassured sometimes that people do read your blog and that all your hard work isn't in vain although I love blogging so much that I would still do it even if no-one read it. Anyway - before I start to sound like Gwyneth Paltrow at The Oscars - there are a few things that you need to do to fulfil the conditions of getting the award. 1. You have to thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blo

Finding the Perfect Perfume

Hurrah!! I've finally found it! I've finally found myself a new perfume. I don't know if any of you are the same as me but I find choosing perfume really difficult. I never seem to be able to find just the 'right' fragrance. I have accumulated so many bottles of perfume over the years that I could start a shop. I have either bought them for myself, really liking them at the time, only to find that a few days later I really don't care for the smell or it gives me a headache. I also have several bottles that people have given me as gifts and, to be honest, I wish they wouldn't. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but perfume is a very personal thing and I don't think anyone should give anyone else perfume unless they know for a fact that the person really likes a particular fragrance or they already wear it. It's also an expensive gift and for it to lie unused is such a waste of money. For some reason people seem to think I like those 'green

Never Trust a Cat!

I found this at and it made me laugh out loud so I thought I should share it with you all. This is why you should never let your cat read your books before you do. see more Lolcats and funny pictures , and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz! Until the next time, Denise x

The Changing Face of Facebook

Image Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable although I'm sure at some point in the future it will morph into something else which takes up even more of our time. I love social media. If it exists then I'm on it. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Flickr, Tumblr, Bloggers...need I go on?? Through social media I have met some fantastic new people, had the most profound conversations, made new business contacts, found some of the most interesting content on the web, kept up with the goings on of friends and family and heard breaking news before it even reaches the main sites. The thing with social media though, is that it keeps changing. That's not a complaint. I understand things have to change to keep up with demand. People want more and more and, in order to provide the level of service that the public expect, social media sites needs to keep moving. A perfect example is the recent changes to Facebook. In order to stay on top of

The Four Stages of Learning

Where I currently live there are several amateur groups who each put on a pantomime at Christmas. The pantomimes are very good and have been running for many, many years. People come from far and wide to see them and each group visits the other groups' shows. The competition between the groups is huge and, despite being amateurs, the amount of money spent each year to make each show bigger and better is incredible. Last year one of the groups decided to put on a newly written version of 'A Christmas Carol' instead of their traditional pantomime. This would be the Scottish Premier of the new show and the pressure for it to be a great success was huge. Out of the blue I was called by their director and asked if I would consider being their vocal coach for this new show. I sent them a copy of my Terms and Conditions along with a note of my fees for the duration not expecting for a minute that they would agree to them but the call came back to say that everything was fine and

What's in the (Filofax) Box?

This morning I received yet another parcel and although I was expecting it, I wasn't sure exactly what would be in it. Here's why. Last week Philofaxy and Filomaniac announced that Filofax Germany was having a bit of a sale. (Anyone reading this who knows me will already know that I adore Filofaxes - if you don't know me - I adore Filofaxes). Anyway, they were selling off 90 Filofaxes at 9 Euros each because Filofax (the company) are celebrating their 90th birthday this year. I couldn't resist having a look. Most of the Filofaxes were pocket size which for me is just too small but there were a few nice ones in personal size and different models to the ones on the UK website. The idea was to buy three personal size Filofaxes and give them as Christmas presents. Each one I chose was previously well over 100 Euros and, because of that, an absolute bargain! So, here's what I bought. ...and in the boxes... Left to right Bloomsbury (tomato), Panama (m

If I Could Be Anyone I'd Be...

Today is the launch of Talli Roland's fab new book 'Watching Willow Watts' and to celebrate she's having a great online party. All you have to do to take part is let her - and everyone else - know who you would like to be if you could be any one at all. For me that wasn't difficult because if I could be anyone I would be... BETTY BOOP!  Why Betty Boop? She is fabulous! She is beautiful, sexy, classy, sassy, stylish, funny and her clothes are amazing. She's really feminine but at the same time she's tough and knows what she wants from life. Originally Betty represented the flapper girls from the great Jazz Era. When I was a little girl I always wanted to be a flapper and I could do a pretty good Charleston by the time I was four years old. In fact, even now, if I go to a fancy dress party I almost always go as a flapper although maybe I'll start going as Betty from now on. Unfortunately I wasn't organised enough to sort myself out with a Betty

How to Achieve Just About Anything

How many times have you started a diet only to give up a few days later? What about that book you began writing years ago which is still lying unfinished in your desk drawer? Is there someone out there who you fell out with over some silly misunderstanding years ago but can't bring yourself to call?  Do you ever wonder what your life would have turned out like if you had only had been courageous enough to ask a certain someone out on a date? If you would like to be able to achieve just about anything you want in life, then read on. Image Have you ever looked at someone and wondered how they became so successful, rich, confident, popular, talented, all of the those things (delete as appropriate), whilst you are struggling just to get by on a daily basis with no money, greasy hair and an uncanny knack for attracting bad luck? I'm not talking about people who are born into wealth or fame and the lifestyle that comes with it. I'm talking about every day, run of the

Kick Start Your Healthy Eating Plan

Disclaimer: Please note, I am in no way affiliated with or connected to other than through buying their products. Are you one of life's grazers or do you prefer to eat three good meals every day with no snacks in between? Image I'm a grazer. I prefer smaller meals but I do like to snack or 'graze' my way through the day. The problem with this is that I don't always choose the healthy option. Actually, if I'm totally honest I don't choose the healthy option very often at all. Somewhere, deep in my subconscious, I have managed to convince myself that it's much easier to eat biscuits, chocolate or crisps than it is to eat fruit, nuts and seeds. When I'm doing the coaching part of my job I work long hours with little time for 'proper' meals and so I tend to just grab something quick whenever I get the chance. When I'm writing I sit at my computer for hours on end and snack on all of the things I mentioned before (it's

Tuesday Treasures

It's Tuesday once again and that means it's time for 'Tuesday Treasures' where I share with you six blogs or websites that have caught my eye over the last week. So, without any further ado or even messing around, here they are. Just click on the title to go to the site. Hot Toast and Jam - this is the blog of artist/designer Mmm where you will find beautiful photos and artwork as well as some of his musings and a few other things. Not only that but fortnightly, on a Tuesday, he runs a co-op where he gives a theme and other artists can link their work on that theme to his site. Many of the sites are really worth taking the time to look at. Tom Percival - this is the blog of Tom Percival, a writer and illustrator of children's books. He also illustrates books for other writers and I found out about him through a book called 'The Tiny Wife' by Andrew Kaufman. Lots of lovely images and many other things on this blog. Lauduree - this is the website of L

Hot Chocolate (based on Vianne's recipe from Chocolat)

Image There is nothing like coming home and having a great big mug of steaming hot chocolate after being out for walk on an autumn or winter's day however, all too often, people settle for the pre-made stuff; the pale, sugary concoction that comes from a jar or a tin and you just add hot water or milk. If you like that then that's fine but I promise you, once you have tasted this version, you won't go back to the old way. It does take a little bit longer but it really is worth it. So, as promised in my post 10 Things I Love About Autumn  here is my recipe for the best hot chocolate - EVER  EVER INGREDIENTS Enough milk (full fat or semi-skimmed is fine) to make the amount of chocolate you want i.e. if you want two mugs, measure the milk out in the mugs you intend to use Good quality chocolate, finely chopped or grated - approx. 25gs per person but you can add more if you want it to be more chocolaty. You can use white, milk or dark chocolate depending on how sw

THE HATING GAME - Talli Roland

'When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end? Who will win The Hating Game?' 'The Hating Game' is Talli Roland's debut novel and if you love chick-lit/rom-com, you will love this book.  Mattie Johns is an attractive, hard headed, man-eating business woman. The problem is tha

10 Things I Love About Autumn

Well, summer is over and it's now autumn. The seasons are very easy to work out as far as I'm concerned. March, April, May -  Spring June, July, August   Summer Sept, Oct, November Autumn Dec, Jan, February - Winter I love autumn. It's my favourite season of the year and here are 10 reasons why I love it so much. The beautiful autumnal colours of the leaves on the trees. I love the varying shades of greens, yellows, browns, oranges, bronzes, reds and pinks Thick homemade soups and fresh crusty bread. In particular Scotch Broth - there's nothing to beat it Frosty mornings Lighting the fire and the smell of the logs drying out in the log basket beside it Jumpers, knitted dresses and woolly tights Huge mugs of proper hot chocolate made with fresh vanilla, chilli flakes, whipped cream, marshmallows and a dash of brandy. (recipe to follow) Walking through carpets of fallen leaves in the woods with the dogs Curling up on the sofa on a grey afternoon to

10 Things About Me You Would Never Know Unless I Told You

10! I often read blog posts which list a number of facts about the blogger and, I have to confess, I love reading them. I'm often surprised at things people do or have done, places they have lived etc. It's funny how you build up a picture of someone you don't actually know and then they give you a few facts about themselves and that picture can be completely changed. So here are my 10 facts. I was going to title the post '10 Facts About Me You Would Never Know Unless I Told You and Probably Wished You Didn't Know Once You Read Them' but that was just a bit too long. Anyway... I studied Wing Chun Kung Fu for several years My ultimate comfort food is a white roll with tuna mayo and Branston pickle. Don't ask I have a tattoo and for anyone who is wondering - yes - it was painful and no - I don't regret getting it. I like love adore Pingu When I was at school I fenced for Scotland (the sport of fencing as opposed to handling stolen goods of

August Challenge - Week 3 Update

Original First of all I have to say that I can't believe it's been a whole week since I posted anything on here. Somehow last week suddenly became very busy and before I knew it, it was Tuesday again and so I'm going to do a very quick update on my personal 'no-spend' challenge. This is technically the post from last Friday. The funny thing about last week (week 3) was that I began to find that there were less and less things tempting me. As you know, during the first two weeks there were many things that I would have just bought on the spur of the moment but as this challenge goes on I have found that I'm not as tempted to look at things, try things on or impulse buy as I was before. They do say that it takes 21 times of doing something to form a habit and I'm beginning to think that I am getting into the habit of not spending unnecessarily and that's got to be good - right? Anyway, the one thing I was tempted to buy was a new blusher brush at £

Tuesday Treasures

Welcome to Tuesday Treasures. Tuesday is now going to be the day when I will give you links to six websites or blogs that have caught my attention over the last week. They could be about absolutely anything so there won't be any kind of theme but hopefully you will find them interesting, informative, inspirational, funny, cool and lots of other things too. Sometimes they may be just downright weird but whatever they are I hope you have fun checking them out. Just click on the name of the site to visit it. So, for this week we have: Lifehacker   This is a website full of 'tips, tricks and downloads for getting things done' and I love it! Soul Speak   This is an inspirational blog where you will be 'Going within. Being grateful. Living positively'. It's definitely worth many visits. Polyvore   At Polyvore you can discover your own personal style by creating wonderful outfits using products from across the web. You can also find out where to buy the pr