Sunday, April 13, 2014

Catching up (13, 14, 15/52)

Time sure does fly when you're having fun!  That's the only explanation I can come up with for being two weeks behind with my 52 Portraits of Lucas...

15/52: I finally got around to putting a fringe on the kid-sized version of the Fourth Doctor scarf that I knitted for Lucas.  Here he is, doing his very best Tom Baker, at the front door.  Would you like a jelly baby?

14/52: Since watching the Winter Soldier, Lucas has taken to carrying his Captain American shield everywhere.  He and Dave have turned trips to the supermarket into a series of clandestine missions.  My solo shopping trips will seem positively boring by comparison...

13/52: Lucas wearing the biscuit moustache that he piped while making my Mother's Day dinner.  I still have no idea why moustaches are suddenly in but Lucas looked pretty good with one!  It doubled up as an awesome dunker for the white chocolate mousse in the jar.

Joining in with Jodie's 52 Project!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Favourites #23

Friday has sneaked up on me this week.  (As have the Easter holidays--I am absolutely stuck for things to do. All suggestions welcome!!)  I vaguely remember Monday but the rest is a blur.  I'm going to assume that's the sign of a good week!

Here are some of my favourite things from this week...

Favourite print: Bristol Screen Print

I've been browsing Etsy this week and this print of Bristol caught my eye.  Not only is it a gorgeous Bristol Blue in colour, it's got hot air balloons soaring over Brunel's Suspension Bridge (one of my favouritest sights ever), Cabot's Tower, one of the cathedrals (is that the one on College Green?), the SS Great Britain and an assortment of animals from the zoo.  Penguins!!

If you're a Bristolian (or just wish you lived in Bristol, and who wouldn't) then this is the print for you!  Alternatively, pop your city/area into the Etsy search and you'll probably find a jolly nice print to adorn your walls!  You could even make a feature wall of prints from places you've lived...

Favourite geeky find: Amazing Baby & Me

OMG!  I know this is a commercial for Evian (and a not-so-subtle plug for the next Spider-Man film) but I love this short so much!!

Favourite craft: DIY flower fairy lights

Lily's fabulous flower adorned fairy lights are gorgeous!  I wish I could persuade Dave that fairy lights are cool all year round, not just for Christmas... You could take them in so many different directions...maybe use pastels in spring, bright colours in summer, and so forth.  Love 'em!

Favourite travel post: Danni's day in Amsterdam

In 2000, I lived in Amsterdam.  Back then, it was probably the worst possible place for a non-smoker, anti-drug type such as myself to live, but I loved wandering around the canals and through the Vondelpark admiring all the beautiful architecture and scenery.  Plus, awesome cakes were to be found everywhere!  If you haven't been, you should totally go!  (We're taking Lucas just as soon as we're sure that he won't fling himself into a canal.)

All images copyright their respective owners.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Life lately...

Found on Pinterest
Life is good right now.  Busy, but bloody good all the same!

I spent half of today at school doing PTA stuff, admiring the children's projects and watching the Easter bonnet parade.  Tomorrow I'm baking a birthday cake for a friend and in the evening there's this month's WI meeting.  Apologies if anyone sees me out and about in a weird lycra-based outfit...we're doing street dance this month and there's a prize for the best outfit!  I'm going to channel Beyonce and Rhianna.  Actually, just cover your eyes until Friday to be on the safe side!

Thanks to Lucas and Dave I had an amazing Mother's Day on Sunday.  They thoroughly spoiled me.  Not only did I get some Baileys fudge and a lens adaptor to let me use my old Canon nifty fifty on my new camera, they spent the whole day in the kitchen making me dinner!

They were so sweet about the whole thing.  For the last week they've both been bursting with excitement and loving keeping the menu a secret.  It was totally worthwhile!  They did seared scallops on local black pudding, with minted pea puree followed by Lamb Kleftiko which was amazingly delicious if perhaps not the most photogenic dish ever and finished off with white chocolate mousse and homemade langues de chat.  All utterly delicious.  They're justifiably very proud of themselves!!

Over the last week or so I've found myself in the midst of an epic craft spree.  First I played with hot glue (and made a tiny mess, but that's all cleared up now so we shall say no more) and made a spring wreath for the front door.  I'm rather thrilled with how it's turned out (and the postman said nice things about it to me this morning).  I also crocheted a bird and a few flowers to adorn Lucas's Easter hat for the Easter Bonnet parade at school.  He didn't win (boo hiss etc) but he loves the bird so much that I might make adapt the pattern to turn it into an Angry Bird.

And then there was the crochet lining for my yarn basket... No more snagged yarn!

I want to finish it off with some ribbon around the outside edge (to hide the stitches) and a crocheted rose.  This calls for more hot glue!

I have just booked my hotel room (well, cell really as it's a windowless room at the EasyHotel), bought my train ticket and printed out my ticket for Blogtacular!  It's getting closer and closer; I'm super-excited and a bundle of nerves at the same time which is fun.  Lucy from London Loafing and I have hatched a cunning plan to form a cluster of nervous people who don't know anyone else IRL and fret together as a bonding exercise.  Really looking forward to all the workshops, particularly the photo styling one!!

How's life with you?

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Favourites #22

Happy Friday everyone!  I'm really looking forward to this weekend; we're off to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Saturday and on Sunday, Dave and Lucas are cooking me dinner for Mothering Sunday.  The menu is a secret, and Lucas is bursting with excitement about the whole thing.  Can't wait!

Hello to any visitors from Sunny Sweet Pea (who has just posted an interview with me today)--it's lovely to have you!

Favourite Recipe: Triple Layer Mango & Passionfruit Curd Pavlova

© Not Quite Nigella
I've known Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella for years and with this sublime and decadent pavlova, I think she's surpassed Nigella herself!  It serves 18 people, so I'm going to need to engineer a large family gathering to give me an excuse to make this beauty.  Is a Pavlova Party a thing?  I could totally make it a thing...

Favourite Crochet: Ombre Crochet Throw

I'm on a real crochet and crafting kick at the moment.  Last night at our WI In Stitches group I saw a gorgeous crochet ripple blanket and fell in love.  While hunting around for patterns last night, I came across this beautiful ombre blanket.  Isn't it amazing?  I've never seen crocodile stitch before but I can't wait to give it a go!

Favourite Advice: 8 Tricks to help you get back into an exercise routine

I'll be the first to admit that the gym and I aren't friends at the moment.  I don't know why...I always love it when I'm there, it's just the getting there that's the problem.  I don't mean transport-wise...I mean motivation.

There are some fab tips in this article and I'm definitely going to give some of them a go.  If only they included some ninja tips for sneaking back into the gym without anyone commenting on my absence...

Also seen on the web this week:

♥ I loved Michelle's post about Pete and Betty, her furry friends.  Lots of gorgeous pictures of the puppies!
♥ Five things I wish I knew when I started out in Photography.  Great advice!
♥ April Fools Pranks to play on your kids!  (Although, this may be a slippery slope to go down with Lucas.  It might escalate quite quickly!!)

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Our Hogwarts letters (aka tickets)
Last month we finally, finally made it to Hogwarts!  Despite none of us being quite the right age, we were ushered through the imposing carved wooden doors into the Great Hall to take our places at Hogwarts.  (Okay, so it was actually The Harry Potter Studio Tour, but I'm allowed to pretend, okay?)

The opening of the doors was a tremendous bit of theatre and like everyone else, we 'ooohed' and 'aaahed' as they were revealed to us.  I'd very carefully not read much about the tour before we went, so this particular surprise was unspoiled for me.

Hogwarts newest pupils!
Walking into the Great Hall was a very special experience indeed.  The tables were laid for breakfast and we were able to get surprisingly close to everything which allowed us to spot all the little details.  Like the House Points counter which is only glimpsed a couple of times in the films.

Gryffindor wins!
Hogwarts crest plus the house crests on the fireplace in the Great Hall

Once we left the Great Hall we entered a veritable Aladdin's Cave of amazing sets and props.  Unsurprisingly, my eye was drawn straight away to the Chocolate Feast.  I'm amazed that the chocolate phoenix has survived for so long!

Unlike most people on the tour, I spent my time at the Gryffindor dormitory photographing Ron Weasley's bed rather than jockeying for that perfect shot of Harry's bed.  Not for any nefarious purposes, I hasten to add!  I'm just quite taken with the blanket on his bed.  Lucas was, too, and has asked if I could knit him one.  The Harry Potter films are stuffed full of wonderful knitted and crocheted objects!

Lucas stopped off for a bit of wand practice before we ventured into the Potions classrooms.  I think this was what turned him from mildly interested into a bit of a fan.  He devoured the first book within a few days after we did the tour!  (Reading with a wand in hand is seriously cute!)

My favourite part of the tour was seeing The Burrow.  The Weasleys have such a happy family life and I adore their cosy and eclectic kitchen with room for the whole family to gather and chat while dinner is cooking or to argue over the last piece of crackling. 

I am in love with the Welsh dresser, which has only served to fuel my need to have one!  I really wish this was my kitchen.

I wish I could show you a photo of everything, but with a thousand photographs between Dave and I, that would be an insanely long post!!  There were so many little details everywhere I looked; I spotted a Gnome Racing Championships cup in a prop cage.  How fabulous is that??

Talking of details, my mind was blown by the work that the graphics department had put into all the newspapers, textbooks and letters.  I stood and read the front page of The Daily Prophet and wished that I could turn the pages.  My eye was caught by this rather pink notepaper:

Halfway through the tour was the back lot where all the large props were kept, like Number 4, Privet Drive and the Knight Bus.  There was also Butterbeer!
Epic Butterbeer moustache!
Lucas and I knocked on the door of Number 4, Privet Drive, but no one was home.  I'm not sure what I'd have said if one of the Dursleys had opened the door!

When we ventured into the next hangar, we found lots of model making and animatronic displays, but they were totally eclipsed by Diagon Alley!!

Welcome to Diagon Alley!
We stepped onto the cobbled street and walked past Cauldrons, marvelling at the sheer variety and the teetering tower of cauldrons outside which must surely have been held up by magic!  There was such a big crowd outside Gringotts that I was worried that there was a run on the bank, but it turned out to be Crookshanks who was chasing a clockwork mouse to amuse the Muggles.

The last stop on our magical tour was the Hogwarts model.  This was huge!  Not full-size, but still absolutely stunning.  The lighting changed continually between day and night, when tiny lights twinkled in the windows.  The level of detail was breathtaking with perfect lines of grout between all the bricks of the castle walls and plants poking out of Professor Sprout's greenhouses!

And of course, no tour would be complete without seeing where the adventures began for Harry: the cupboard under the stairs.

The cupboard under the stairs

If you're a Harry Potter fan and haven't done the tour yet, then I would highly recommend that you go!  We spent over four hours there and all had a wonderful time; I would go back again in a heartbeat!

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


As much as Lucas hates to admit it, he's a bit poorly this weekend.  He was running a little bit of a temperature on Friday morning but still perfectly fine so I packed him off to school with some Calpol and over the weekend he's gradually worsened.  You could fry an egg on his forehead at the moment, poor lad.

He fell asleep in Dave's comfy chair while his bath was being run which is most unlike him.  Tomorrow's an inset day and I figure it will mostly involve curling up on the sofa with a blanket and watching his favourite cartoons.

The 52 Project: a portrait a week of my child with Jodie.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Favourites #21

Oh, Friday!  How I love thee!  You are the gateway to the weekend and all the glorious doing nothing that comes with it.  I have a stack of books and comics to read, a snuggly blanket and my corner of the sofa (I'm a bit Sheldon about that).

Here are a few of the things I've loved this week...

Favourite Advice: 19 Tiny Things You Can Do To Make The World A (Slightly) Better Place

I loved this post from Sarah at about small random acts of kindness that are all totally do-able to make our world a tiny bit better.  I keep meaning to report the new pothole on our road to the council, so #10 is quite timely!  You should check out the rest of her blog, too; it's full of fantastically sage advice.

Favourite Geeky Stuff: The cutest Doctor Who animation ever

You all know how much I love Doctor Who, right?

This little animation made me love it even more.  The artist has managed to capture the personality of each Doctor within a scant few seconds.  It's glorious.

Favourite handmade: Eleven Things

© Eleven Things
My friend's husband has recently taken up pottery and he is turning out some beautiful pieces!  I have been eyeing up the coffee and cream set (and let's be honest, everything else) on his website.  In my head, they're tastefully decorating my (still) imaginary Welsh dresser.  One day I'll turn all of this into a reality!

Go look!!

And finally, check out this incredible video of Bristol!  I love our beautiful city!

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