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Thursday, 3 January 2013

Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2012

This year's round up features mainly Instagram photos. Like many other people, the ease of Instagram has resulted in a decrease in DSLR photos for me. But to be honest, I'm ok with it. I love how easy it is to capture every day moments. For special occasions and vacations I still love using my DSLR.

My selection also includes lots of London 2012 olympics photos. It was a big thing here in the UK and I was lucky to be able to go to several events. I was completely swept up in olympic fever.

It sounds a bit naff but I think the olympics, and in particular the paralympics, changed Great Britain for the better. People's attitudes towards disability have changed. Having spent my post-university year out working in a special needs school and totally loving my job, it's something that is close to my heart. I feel I could always see the possibilites but now so many other people do too.

2012. T'was a great year : ) 

1. Me

2. I Love You - my greyhound cross, Minty Woo, dreaming. He demands to be wrapped up in his blanket before he will fall asleep.

3. Still Laughing - Minty goes crazy when the mail comes through the letter box. We try and shut him out when it arrives otherwise he snatches it as it comes through the door and everything has teeth marks through it. One morning I came downstairs to find him sitting with my mail. So I snapped him looking guilty (with a cheeky nose-lick too)! 

My Mum recently gave me a card of a dog with mail in its mouth which said "You've Got Mail. I've added Braille," which was funny not only because it's so true for Minty but also because I can Braille after using it working at a special needs school.

4. Winter Wonderland - A frosty morning in Sussex. No snow this winter as of yet.

5. Birthday - chocolate mousse cake for my birthday in December  . . . Y.U.M.

6. Friends - me and one of my best friends from university. We went to the paralympic closing ceremony together. It was an amazing night - Coldplay, Rhianna and Jay-z sang. Here we are in front of the orbit in the olympic park.

7. I Was Inspired - the slogan for London 2012 was "Inspire a Generation,"  visible on this photo at the paralympic rowing at Eton Dorney. I truly was inspired by the whole thing but particularly by the rowing. In spring I will be joining my local rowing club here on the south coast. I'm excited to learn a new sport!

8. Spring Fever - pretty spring light.

9. Travel or Vacation - one of 2 DSLR photos - I love this shot of 2 boys playing football on the beach in Dubai. The city skyline is faintly visible in the background and I like the hot air balloon too. There was a sandstorm this day and although I added a sepia tint, the actual colours were already rather muted because of the storm.

10. Summer Days - paralympic equestrian at Greenwich Park. The weather was gorgeous and the view stretches right across London. The team GB horses were getting spooked by all the cheering so people stopped cheering and instead waved their little plastic flags when the horses came in the arena. It was almost silent except for the flutter of hundreds of flags. It was such a magical sound and magical moment, I will never forget it.

11. A Day In My Life - walking my boy round the country lanes.

12. All Smiles - my friend and I on a bus in Windsor, on the way to watch the rowing.

13. Autumn Harvest - fruit at the farm shop. 

14. Family or Home - Minty toasting himself in front of the real fire.

15. Celebrate! - Fireworks at the end of the paralympic closing ceremony.


16. Let's Do It Again - I need to make more time for coffee and cake with my lovely friends in 2013.

17. I Miss You - as settled as I am in the countryside, I do miss London. This is Canary Wharf, one of the main financial districts.

18. Beautiful - I love the scenery in Sussex, England.

19. Dress Up - oh grandma, what a big nose you have!

20. Macro - my other DSLR shot. Tropical flowers in Dubai.

21. Holidays

22. My Favourite - I probably have hundreds of shots of Minty in this pose but I really love this one. It was taken on a crisp autumn morning, it was dead quiet, we had the field all to ourselves and he was just taking in the moment, as was I.

23. Don't Ever Change - this was at the olympic stadium at the paralympic athletics. We were high up in the stands and I thought it'd be fun to get these 3 GB hats in the shot. I hope the legacy of the olympics really is lasting and that people can hold onto some of its magic.

24. Just Because . . . So There! - a cow on a hill, why not?

25. Hopes and Dreams - I hope 2013 brings great things for everyone : )

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A Month in Photos - November 2012

From L to R:

* Homemade chocolate mousse cake
* Christmas Tree farm
* Snowflake tealight candle holder
* Snowman decoration
* Fruit at the farm shop
* Selfie in wooly hat and scarf
* Doggie who crept onto the sofa 
* Cosy Fair Isle socks

Monday, 22 October 2012

Autumn Shopping Spree

Last weekend, I visited relatives near where I used to live in South London. The local shopping centre is much bigger than we have here in rural East Sussex so I made the most of my time there and did a little autumn shopping.

My first purchase was a new dressing gown. I wanted a really soft, snuggly one for winter and found this one in M&S:

The colour is chocolate and it's sooo cozy! And at £22.50, it didn't break the bank.

I also wanted some new slipper socks to keep my toes toasty. I have Raynaud's disease and one of the main symptoms I get is permanently cold feet (due to poor blood supply to extremeties). As the weather turns colder, it becomes a real problem.

BHS had 3 for 2 on these socks so it cost £22.00 for 3 pairs. I got one white pair with a red fair isle pattern, one red pair and one charcoal pair.

They have plastic dots underneath so are non slip and inside there is a fluffy white lining. I love them and they are so festive looking too with the pom poms and cable knit!

My final purchase was a pair of Hunter wellies. I have had my eye on these for a while now but had been hoping to find them somewhere at a good price. I saw them in Costco for £60, a saving of £25 off the RRP of £85. 

The colour is "Forest Green" but for some reason, the boots look like they have a turquoise tint to them in the photos. They do not at all. They are more of a rich Christmas green in real life!

I'm really pleased with my autumn purchases. That will do shopping-wise for now . . . until the boxing day sales!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I Heart Aldi

For those of you that have never heard of Aldi, it is a discount supermarket chain which I currently love!

Since we live in a quite a rural area we have to drive at least 15 minutes to get to a supermarket. There are plenty of options around but Aldi is my favourite at the moment.

Here's why I like it:

1) It is much smaller than a regular supermarket. It's on one level and whilst the store does get busy, it's not that same heaving stressful experience that you get in larger supermarkets.

2) There are a limited number of products. You know how overwhelming and time-sapping it can be to look through an aisle full of different brand versions of the same product. Well, Aldi tends to have 1 brand of each product. E.g. there is only one strawberry jam option, one sliced ham option etc.

3) The majority of products are just as good as major brands. I admit I used to be a brand snob. I liked sticking to well known names but that all ended when I became a student. It was more important to save the pennies and I soon realised the alternatives were usually fine, if not better.

4) Their beauty products are excellent! I am in love with their little selection, see more on that later.

5) The store isn't over-done. By that I mean it's pretty basic. Products are often displayed and stacked in cardboard boxes. There is none of that harsh bright lighting you get in other supermarkets. And there are no advertisements hanging from the ceiling or in your face everywhere you look.

Overall, I love it! My next post will be about their fantastic beauty products!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Barry M Nail Varnish

I had been on the look out for a new autumn shade nail varnish for a while. Some nail varnishes now seem ridiculously overpriced but I was pleased to find a Barry M varnish in Superdrug that I liked the look of.

At £2.99 it wasn't breaking the bank. It's called Nail Paint and the colour is raspberry:

It actually has a bit more of a magenta tone that the above image suggests. The brush is a little soft so it's not that easy to get a clear line at the edge of the nail. Other than that, I love it.

I have been eyeing up the other gorgeous colours on the Barry M website too! Buying a new nail varnish feels like a lovely little treat. Like clothes shopping but kinder on the bank balance!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

I Heart Staples

This summer I have had a major clear out and got super organized. I went through everything in the attic and was ruthless. Some boxes had been unopened since we moved house 3 years ago and as far as I'm concerned if I havn't needed it in the last 3 years I most likely won't need it again!

I also had a lot of university files and folders which I needed to keep but wanted to store properly in plastic boxes so the paper didn't deteriorate.

I headed to Staples, a store which I havn't been to for years which is odd considering how much I love organising and stationary!

I bought 4 of these 68 litre large plastic containers on sale at £9.00 each, pretty good value I think! I will be using them to store books, photos and Christmas decorations.

Then I also bought 2 of these 6.7 litre little boxes to keep more fragile Christmas decorations in. These were also on sale, 99p each! They will be kept inside the large Christmas containers.

I could have bought so much more. I loved their Martha Stewart range, especially the stackable desk organsiers in Tiffany blue:

But I managed to restrain myself . . . for now anyway!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

In Search of Fall Colours

Following my last post on the beginning of fall, I have been investigating the best places to see the autumn colours in my area.

I live in the county of East Sussex which is in the south east of the UK but the county of Kent borders East Sussex, hence we visit Kent a lot too.

(The white patch north of Surrey and north west of Kent is London. Also the rest of kent is surrounded by the sea which you can't see on this image. A bit of UK geography!)

After some research it seems there are 2 places which are renowned for beautiful autumn colours:

1. Sheffield Park, East Sussex

This is a National Trust garden of 200 acres which includes rare trees and shrubs set around lakes which give gorgeous reflections. There are plenty of acers, Japanese maples and North American species such as Nyssa, providing some of the best autumn colours.

This pinetum holds the world's finest conifer collection. You may wonder how conifers give autumn colour but interestingly, not all are evergreen.

This is what the curator has to say:

"A walk through the Pinetum reveals a variety of trees chosen for their spectacular autumn colour - including liquidamber, tulip, ginkgo, oak, black birch and recently-planted nyssa. The spindleberry and maples are already turning a vivid pink. The cornus amomum is covered in metallic blue berries and, as its leaves start to fall, the Katsura tree fills the air with the smell of candy floss. Around Marshal's Lake the dawn redwoods and swamp cypresses, despite being coniferous, take on various shades of burnt orange and foxy red before shedding their needles."

 I am drooling!

I also read in the newspaper today that the autumn colours in the Uk are going to be particularly spectacular this year due to the weather conditions. We had wet weather early in the summer which meant the trees produced a large volume of leaves which were also retained for longer. Then recently we had some very warm end-of-summer days increasing sugar levels in the trees which will boost colours even further. Now we are getting cooler nights so the leaves will start to turn.

Gosh I love this season : )