Wednesday, 16 November 2011

What's the story in Balamory?

This week, we are on holiday in Kilchoan, Scotland. Pretty enough, but god, the roads are scary.

In absence of a real update, here, have some photos.


Light house on the coast of the Isle Of Mull

We went to Tobermory, where they filmed Balamory.
We're still singing the theme tune.

We also went to the Tobermory/Ledraig whiskey distillery.

God ray on the Isle Of Mull

Abandoned ships on the Isle Of Mull coast

Sanna beach

Traigh Solais (light house in Gaelic)


We decorated cupcakes


Sunset from our cabin


Loch Lomand


Friday, 11 November 2011

We Will Remember Them.

Today is 11/11, while, yes it is the last binary day of the millennium, (of which I am incredibly excited), it is also Armistice Day, which celebrates the armistice signed between Allies of World War I and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the cease fire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.

It was declared as a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate the fallen. After World War II, the name was changed to Remembrance Day here in the UK, and Veterans Day in the US. Many people still call it Armistice Day, myself included. It seems interchangeable with Remembrance day.
We wear the red poppy as an outward show of our remembrance, the use was inspire by the WWI poem "In Flanders Fields". It's opening lines refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned earth of the soilders graves in Flanders.

One of my favourite war poems, to commemorate the dead is "For The Fallen", by Laurence Binyon. It is one of his best known, as the fourth stanza adorns numerous memorials;

"They shall not grow old, as we that left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them"

So I hope, that today, the 11/11, you will take a moment to just remember the men that lay down their lives during the wars, so that we could live in the countries we do.



Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Where I Get Angry At The Broadcasting Top Brass.

It seems to be a big thing for TV channels to shrink TV show credits down into one corner and play them at double speed while someone shouts at you to let you know what is on next.

Shaun Dooley, (He's from Barnsley, don'cha know :D), tweeted and asked us to fill in this survey, on what we thought about this. Nothing gets on my ample bosom that this, so I quite happily did it.

It has a box at the end for any other notes, or anything else you wanted to say.

I got carried away;

I think it is incredibly disrespectful to shrink the credits. With nearly everyone having digital or sky, it is very easy to see what is coming up next, by pressing the information button, or similar. Saying that it is only the actors and their parents that read them is very incorrect. As a costumer, I find the credits very helpful in finding out who has done the costumes. As some one that is VERY interested in the production of shows, I am interested in who has done the lighting, the sound, yes, even who the best boy and the runners are.

If you went to the cinema, and they did the same thing, I'm sure you would complain. People quite happily sit there and watch the credits, find out who that actor was that had a fleeting cameo that they're sure they know from somewhere else, but can't quite recall, yet the moment they see the name, it'll come back to them. They sit and see who the director was, what that piece of music was, who did the FX. Okay, so TV credits don't go into so much detail, but it's surprising what can be found out from watching them.

There is no need for someone to shout over the top of the credits, to tell you what is coming up next, then what is on after that, what is on the next channel, what you've just watched. I KNOW what I've just watched, I watched it for crying out loud. I don't need to know what is on XYZ channel, I don't need to know what is on in 3 hours, I don't even really want to know what is on next. I certainly don't need telling again in 30 seconds, after playing a trailer for another 2 shows that won't actually be screening for another month. I don't need telling what I'm about to watch right before the programme either, I know what I'm about to watch, that's why, I have that channel on.

I digress.

There is no need to shout and tell us what is on next over the credits. If we want to change the channel, shouting at us won't stop us. If we were NOT going to change the channel, shouting at us would more than likely want to MAKE us change the channel. I have never met one person that does not have some form of TV paper, be it the Radio Times, or the S Magazine out of the Sunday Express. It's just as easy to pick that up and look in it. Most papers will print that days TV listings. Both of our local papers, even the free one, prints that day's and the next day's TV listings. There is no need to have Mr. Shouty-Man come over the credits to tell us.

In short, STOP shrinking the credits to let us know what is on next on half a dozen channels, while some one shouts at us in the hope that we won't change the channel. If you don't want us to change the channel, don't advertise other channels shows at the end of a programme. Or is that just common sense? Stop running them at double speed. Even me, with 20:20 vision who can read incredibly fast, cannot keep up. It gives me eye ache. Stop having Mr. Shouty-Man shout at us over the music. Yes, a lot of shows use the same music each week, (Eastenders for one), but just as many will continue the last piece of music played in the show.

It is disrespectful, rude, and downright annoying.

PLEASE, if you are as annoyed as the rest of us by the credit shrinking, fill in the survey!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

I hev eh sociel seasen daaaaaaaaaahling!

I don't really. This year has just been a bit heavy on the doing stuff side.

First up, was Moo's hen do. We went to Go Ape at Sherwood Forest. Ehhh... it was ok. Wimped out on a couple of them, and hand a total melt down on the second one. But it was ok.

Yeah, Moo had us pretending to be monkeys...

Next up, Moo's wedding. We had to go to Dorset for it, went down on the Friday, came back on the Sunday. She looked beautiful. When it came to catching the bouquet, there were only, I think 6 of us took part, and three of them stood be hind the rest of us. I didn't intentionally catch it. I didn't actually want to. But when she threw it, my body took over and ehhh blah blah right? I caught it! Woop!

After that was my friend B's wedding. I love B. I met her at uni and we hit it off straight away. She... was a lesbian, but then she met Steve, and everything changed. They are an amazing couple, and so in love. It's kinda sickening really.

Also, annoying, I have no photos from this wedding. On the morning, Steve asked me to take photos, so I spent all day taking them for other people, and got none for me!

They got married in Blackpool, again, we went up on the Friday, had a catch up on the Friday night, then came back Sunday. It was really nice, getting to see friends that I hadn't seen in a couple of years.


Then was Bev's hen do. Bev is a friend from school, one of my oldest friends. I helped her and her partner get together (he was an ex's best friend. Not so much any more. That's another story.) We went to the dogs, at Owlerton. I was apprehensive - I don't really agree with sports like that, but I enjoyed it. Didn't win anything, but I didn't spend much either. It was nice to see Bev and her family again, and to get to meet some of Glyn's family.

Then, Bev's wedding. I've always wanted a maxi dress, but could never find one long enough (I'm 5' 11"). We managed to find this one in Evans, with another one that was long enough. I wasn't sure, I felt quite insecure, but then the trusty spanx came out. Phew. I really enjoyed wearing it. It was nice to not have to constantly worry about straps falling down, or it riding up at the back, or whether this pose or that made me look fat. It was nice and relaxing.

I can't wait until next summer to be able to wear it again :)

Admitedly, this photo isn't the most flattering. But I love it.

In between these, there has been various naming ceremonies, garden parties and house warmings. Been quite busy really. Thankfully that's it for the year, other than Mum's birthday, Christmas and a week away in Scotland!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pretty cunning, don'tchya think?


I have a confession. I have never actually watched Firefly all the way through. I own the DVD box set, but I've never sat down and watched them completley. I have seen Serenity, however, and know it off by heart.

That said, the one episode of Firefly I HAVE seen is The Message, guest staring Jayne's amazeballs hat.

Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb. From here

90% of people who know ABOUT Firefly, know about Jayne's hat. His Ma sends it him, to keep him warm on his travels, and Jayne being a good lil' mama's boy, puts it straight on.

One day I decided I needed that hat. I don't remember when... but I know that I thought about it for about 3 years. Always, "One day, I'll knit me that hat". This year, I finally bucked my ideas up. I found a pattern (this one, sort of), I went to my LYS, and got me some yarn. (Rico Aran for Kids. The softest snuggliest wool I've felt in a long time. And the colours. SO BRIGHT!)

The pattern calls for a 6 1/2mm circular, but I hate the damn things. Seriously. I own half a dozen, but I just want to poke people in the eyes with them when I use them. Instead, I used DPNs. I much prefer them, even though I constantly poke myself with them.

'Scuse morning face. Wanted to take advantage of the sunlight, and didn't think to do something about my face first. D'oh!

It knitted up so quickly. I did double strand the wool, as it wasn't quite chunky enough, but I think in total it took me about 6 hours. I'm not the fastest knitter at all, so I'm sure for someone who is faster, they can do it in no time.

I luffs me my hat. I just wish it would get cold enough for me to wear it. At the moment, it only really gets that cold in the middle of the night. And what good is that?

Cunning hat, seen here with Mum's Cunning Tester hat

Monday, 31 October 2011

What's In Your Bag?

Roo over at Nice Girl Notes is doing a blog link up. Basically, you link to a post about what is in your bag, and get entered to win the most BOOTIFUL Elliot Lucca bag. Siriusly, it is HOTT.

First up, apologies for the crappy photos. I've been busy, and only just got round to taking them, and it's dark out side, so these are the best I can do :)

So, what's in my bag?

This is my bag. It's an Iron Fist Wolf Beater bag. I blummin' LOVE it. I use it constantly, so the straps are quite worn. (I've only had it about 4 months :/)

Contents. I carry LOADS of stuff around with me. I guess half of it I don't actually need, but I never really take it out. (Not pictured, my camera. Because... well I was using it to take the photos.)

Diary, notebook, reading book, and signing on stuff. Technically, I only need my signing on stuff every fortnight, but by leaving it in my bag I ALWAYS know where it is :) I always have at least one book in there, at the moment I'm re-reading the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell. I'm also reading Redcoat, by Richard Holmes, which is a history of British soldiers in the time of horse and musket. The notebook is kinda superfluous, as my diary has a notes section in it too, but it also gets used for noting down crochet and knitting patterns, shopping lists, and random quotes.

Stuff. My glasses I only need for reading or close up work, but again, if I leave them in my bag I know where they are. The rest of it... well, it's stuff. Lip blams, solid perfume, hair grips, zovirax, purse, (obvs), throat sweets as I'm currently at the tail end of a cold, small can of deodorant, iPod, pens, (oh, and a toy Sonic Screwdriver. I'm a Whovian... there is also the Doctors Phsycic notebook there), campervan keyring my brother gave me, tissues and a bonfire lolly. I actually need to eat that thinking about it, it's been in my bag about 7 weeks :/ Poker dice, USB stick and front door key.

Usually I have eyeliner and mascara in there as well, but I took it out this morning to use, and forgot to put it back. And my mini first aid kit isn't there too.. Hmmm, I'll bet someone has been rummaging...

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Oops!

Sorry dearest lil blog, for abandoning you. Y'see, I've just had a fair amount of socialising and hob-nobing and what not this year. I'll be back with photos and updates soon.

Promise.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Royal Wedding

I *did* iron this, honest to goodness!

Monica, of The Happy Zombie, posted the most adorable embroidery pattern ever. Of course, I INSTANTLY had to make.

I used a plain white tea towel, (one of the ones I got with The Stitch-it Kit), printed out the pattern onto A4, full size, then centered it onto the tea towel. Traced it all through using an air soluble pen, the coloured it in using crayola crayons. Ironed the excess off onto kitchedn roll then got going!

Originally it was just going to be back stitched, but then Daddybear mentioned about filling it all in. I refused to satin stitch it all (I'm VERY limited to what embroidery stitches I know). I did go so far as satin stitching the flag.

I'm really glad I did actually, I love the way it looks. I want to frame this to hang up, but I don't want to squash it with a glass front, so I'm currently working on finding a frame for it.

Close up!

I love it, I think it's one of the sweetest things I've seen for a while:)

Friday, 6 May 2011

Game Of Thrones

I am officially in love with George RR Martins epic series A Song of Ice and Fire. Seriously.

It's taken over my life. I'm blazing through the books (currently on part two of book three, it's taken some getting through, they are HUGE). I've made my mum and her friend watch it on a Saturday night when it gets repeated on Sky Atlantic. I've followed the official twitter since February. I've have the Making Of blog in my GReader since before Christmas. I follow the BEST fan twitter - Westerosorg, who also do a fan site, and seem to be two of the loveliest people around. I mention it to everyone. I know the cast off by heart. I know the characters like they're my own family. (Seriously, I even cried when Ned died in the book). I know the terms. I can EXPLAIN the terms to people that haven't a clue. I did the Maester's Path, challanges. I watched all the teasers and trailers so many times, I had them down. Word perfect. Real geek right her.

Then this morning, Making of Game of Thrones posted, a full scene from episode 4. I IMMEDIATELY went and watched it, excitement rising faster than Superman goes from 1 - 60. Dear R'hollor, I WAS not disappointed.

Theon Greyjoy, I want your babies.

I went and updated Twitter;


And thought nothing else of it. Just letting my vie
ws rest out there in cyberland.

THEN. Oooooh I was excited. I got a response!


Of course I had to respond.

I don't know if you dear readers use Twitter, but you can list the people you follow. You name your own lists, so you could have a list that is composed of bands, or writers, or celebrities.

Next thing I know, He has listed me.


Most people would be all, 'Yeeeeeeeeeea whatever.' But this made me more excited than I could possibly describe.

Serious.

The two full scenes posted today can be seen here, both from episode 4.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Royal Wedding Cake

Sort of. Well, no really. You see, my Grama organised a Tea Party at her chapel to celebrate the Royal Wedding. They had it on Saturday, as they own the village shop, so couldn't organise it for the Friday. Any way, it was a real British Tea Party - tombola, raffle, cake stall, fancy dress competition, afternoon tea. She asked me and the sister to bake her some buns to go on the afternoon tea plates, and we agreed.

We took over Grama and Granda's kitchen for the morning, and caused chaos.

Photos!





Go here for more photos!

There was around 60 buns left, after sorting out the rejects from the ok ones, half using my recipe, half using my sisters. Her's rose better than mine, making me think that maybe I should change my recipe :) The topping is just vanilla butter cream, with food colouring in for the red and blue ones.

It's the first time I'd used a piping bag, and I have to say, it was a lot easier than people make out. I really liked it, so much so, that now I want my own!

I also baked a Chocolate Orange Cake for the cake stall, and apparently that was the first one to be sold.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Chocolate Orange Cake

My sister's birthday was at the begining of this month - 1st April. She's not an Aprils Fool baby though, she was born after 12 noon :) I usually make people a cake or some such when it is their birthday. When we were kids Mother Mary always used to do them, so they were iced and decorated all proffesional. I'm NO WHERE near that standard. I can do the cake, just not the decorating.

For a week prior to the sister's birthday, I had been bugging her asking what type of cake she wanted. She wouldn't give me a straight answer, always saying to surprise her, or giving me a list of three or four different flavours. In the end I surprised her, with a chocolate orange cake.

I'm reknowned for chocolate cakes in my family, they have even been said to better than my Mum's at times (But shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell her :D ), but I didn't just want to do your average run of the mill chocolate cake. I had a look on the interwebs for some ideas, and narrowed it down to two - a chocolate and vanilla Zebra Cake, using American style cake batter, or a chocolate orange cake, using a low fat batter. Having never made an American style cake before, I decided to go with the chocolate orange cake. I used my basic cake mix, rather than faffing and trying a new mix, and altered it slightly.

I made a bit too much mix for the cake tin, so the inside of my cake was a bit gooey, and the cake it's self collapsed quite a bit back onto itself as it cooled. This didn't alter the taste in anyway though. The weights below are correct for an 8" round cake tin.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Ingredients

200g Eggs (This is normally about 3 large eggs, however, before weighing out the rest of your ingredients, weigh your eggs (IN THE SHELLS!) to get the right amount.)
200g Butter/Marge at room temperature
200g Caster Sugar
150g Self Raising Flour
50g Cocoa Powder
Zest of 2 Oranges
Juice of 1 Orange

Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas mark 4

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. The more you beat these two together the better, you'll trap more air and the cake will be light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, zest and juice until thoroughly combined.

Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl, and carefully fold in. Don't beat at this stage, as you have already got air into the mix.

Grease and line an 8" cake tin. carefully spoon the cake mix into the tin and spread out using the back of a spoon or a spatula. Don't bang or tap the tin to level the batter as this causes the air to escape.

Put into your preheated oven for around 30-40 minutes, until risen, and the top springs back when pressed lightly, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes or so, then turn onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

I only did a single layer cake, however you can easily slice this cake into 2 to fill in the middle.

I decorated it using Betty Crocker's chocolate toffee icing, and Terry's Chocolate Orange segments. Sit back and NOM NOM NOM!


I forgot to take a picture of the thing before the sister cut it. FAIL!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

DAMN YOU SHOES!


So, I have a wedding this weekend. Well, actually, it's Mum's friend who is getting married. We're off for the weekend from Friday. I've known what I'm going to wear since the beginning of February, Mum on the other hand, has changed her mind more times than I've had Gingerbread Lattes. About two weeks ago, she FINALLY decided what to wear. Great! we say. Huzzah! They cheer. BUT! The shoes she wanted to wear, which are TOTALLY rad, she didn't have a bag to match.

Now, these shoes are boss. I mean, they are AH-MAY-ZING! Iron First, turquoise and blue leopard print, peep-toe mid heels. They are beautiful. Now, turquoise. SURELY that shouldn't be so hard to colour match right? WRONG! We must have gone to EVERY SINGLE shop we could think of near us. I even got to the stage where I was trying to find fabric or yarn, or hell, bedding, that I could attempt to knock something up from. The only problem? These shoes are a BLUE turquoise. Everything I could find was a green turquoise, or an aqua-turquoise. Complete bust.

In the end, we gave up. Mum ordered a bag of Amazon on Sunday, that claimed to be turquoise. There was arguments over whether or not she owned a bag that matched a pair of emerald green shoes. I was adamant that she didn't, she claimed she did. (Guess who is right...)

The Amazon bag turned up yesterday. The Amazon bag is an ever so slighter shade of emerald than the green shoes. It has never seen turquoise. Damn, Mum says. Fine, she says. Looks like I'm wearing the green shoes.

Guess what. Today I managed to find a pillowcase that was ever so slightly a different shade of blue turquoise than the shoes. But dammit, it's the closest I've seen, I'm getting it. I knocked together a bag, really simple clutch style.


The photo doesn't really do the colour justice. I SHALL try to get better photos this weekend.

The edge of the flap was the edge of the pillowcase. It had some stitching that I figured I'd use to try and add interest to it. Boxed corners. Lined in the same material. Zip closure (which I totally forgot to photo. But it's a zip. You know what a zip is right?)

The embroidery is a transfer from The Stitch It Kit, by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. I love that kit.


It says "True Love" underneath it. I wanted to try and tie the bag in with the rest of her outfit.

What have I learnt from making this bag? That I really shouldn't try to botch stuff together. I really should start making patters, or at least measure stuff BEFORE I start cutting.

It's not interfaced or anything, which I'm really bummed about. I did plan on it, but I couldn't find my interfacing earlier, and can't afford to buy any more. It'll be right though. It just needs to do it's job.

Oh. And then an hour ago, I realised that the dress I made Mum last year for a company do, was THE EXACT colour of the the shoes. AND I remembered that I had some fabric left. So I went and dug it out. And guess what? In that bag, there was also my interfacing. Dammit.



Monday, 11 April 2011

Braaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiins

I *AM* going to resurrect this. Don't know how yet. But stay tuned.