This is the year penguins will fly.

Behind The Penguin Theory

SEW Excited it’s Christmas!

In all honesty i wasn’t really in the Christmas spirit this year and bought my presents completely last minute, not helped by my mum also not being in the christmas spirit, not even having so much as a christmas tree up in her house!

My sister and I had to buy her a tree, it may be small but at least it’s something!

But eventually i managed to feel festive, partially helped by matching christmas jumpers! Nothing quite says ‘Christmas’ like matching festive jumpers!

I received some lovely presents including (and i am so excited I can’t stop staring at it!) a dress makers form from my mum and her boyfriend! It’s adjustable and polkadot and just amazing!

I also got some fabrics, a gift card for a sewing shop and a rotary cutter! I’ve spent a lot of the day draping and pinning the fabrics I have to it. Now all I can think of doing is going back to London and making dresses!

I had my festive fabrics with me to make my family bow ties. I decided to make a festive outfit for my form! 😀

By the way, the bunting on the form above was made by my 12 year old cousin! I gave her my old sewing machine (along with essential sewing supplies!) last year and she is quick becoming a sewing whiz! I’m very impressed and proud!

The day was rather lovely too. The whole family got together at my grandparents, we played card games, drank wine, opened pressies and ate lots of food!

I’m sure tomorrow will be lots of the same!

I hope you too had a very merry Christmas!

Claire!

First Draping with Fabric from my Sister!


Computer Troubles

I’m sorry for my quietness as of late, I promise I haven’t been lazy (in fact i’ve been more productive than usual) but my laptop decided enough was enough and stopped working completely.

Unfortunately for me it was the hard drive that had gone and I also had some unsaved work on there which I stupidly forgot to back up. 2 videos nearly completed (1 with animations and everything!) and a couple of photoshoots. All gone. But it’s my fault for not making sure I had extra copies of them, I can’t really blame my laptop as it is 5 years old.

I did go to the Apple store. Their customer service was amazing and the guy who saw me was really nice and friendly. But unfortunately it would  cost about £200 for them to fix my laptop, something I just can’t afford at the moment. I probably had a very peculiar look on my face as then he suggested I refit it myself, showing me which to buy, and how to refit it. Instead of spending over £200 i spent £32!

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My new hard drive is very shiny and pretty and I even fit it in myself, which, by the way, is super easy.

So now my laptop is up and running again, soon I’ll have photoshop installed again too and then maybe I can re-make the videos. I’ve now renamed it the FrankenMac as it’s been brought back to life with odd parts!

In the mean time I have been sewing. I’m in the process of using all these old t-shirts i collected whilst working the pub job to make a picnic blanket. Not much more to do!

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In other news : I snuggled with a baby penguin. It was the cutest, softest and smelliest thing ever!

Obviously I was working hard at the same time, actually I find talking to the keepers is the best way to learn about all the animals. It really is the best job ever, I learn something new (and usually amazing) every single day! I seriously don’t want this summer to end.

Claire x

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Date H – Beach Hike

Ash and I have finally been able to go on the next of our Alphabet Dates. We had such a long hiatus as we completely ran out of money. We do usually try to keep our dates on the cheap side anyway, but we really didn’t have any money spare or much time as I was working  quite long shifts at the time. But now we are back, with better paid jobs, and have lots of dates lined up!

For Date H I wanted to take advantage of the good weather and decided a Hike would be fun and pretty. We both like a good nature walk and pretty scenery and I thought it would be great to get out and about. I knew of a few walking trails along the south coast near Brighton and was originally planning to take us there, but then, with the weather so gorgeous, I thought that a hike along the beach itself would be nice as we could even go for a little swim.

We started a bit further up the coast from Brighton and had a really lovely wander. We had some bread and made little sandwiches for a picnic which we ate close to the sea, staring out at the vast expanse of water.

I’ve always loved the sea. It’s terrifyingly powerful and vast but it always calms me and makes me feel quite peaceful.

We wandered for a few hours and stumbled into a little patch of forest with birds chirping overhead, it was nice to get lost in nature for a while.

But soon our legs were tired and it was time to head home. The walk to the car wasn’t as fun as the walk away and so in hindsight maybe we should have done my original route as it did circle around, but it was still a very nice and relaxing day.

Have you gone on a walk recently? Did you see anything interesting?


Catch Up on the 365 Project.

I know i know, i’m terrible and haven’t updated my 365 project for nearly a month! But it’s ok, i have been taking photos so here’s a little catch up.

Warning – Going to be very picture heavy (if you hadn’t guessed)

February the 10th saw me driving up to the north with the radio blasting and ash putting in ear plugs to avoid hearing my singing.

On the 11th i saw these amazing blue orchids! My mum didn’t think much to them but I thought they were gorgeous! It’s a shame I can’t help but kill plants. 😦 I am definitely not green thumbed.

I went to go see Frank Turner with my sister and some friends on the 12th. On the way there I was reading a book on photography when a stranger asked me if I was into that sort of thing and told me to visit this gallery. I still haven’t got round to it, but the exhibition is still on so maybe i’ll go soon.

On the 13th I finally fixed one of my favourite earrings. It’s been sat on my desk for so long and I only just got round to gluing it back together. Hopefully I wont break it again!

On valentines day I spent most of the day drawing hobbits and dragons. Not bad in my opinion. I didn’t actually do anything with ash, neither of us are particularly bothered by it in all honesty. It’s a silly holiday really (we did make an excuse for some snuggle/movie time though of course).

On the 15th I moved my penguin statue, a christmas present from my mums boyfriend and just totally awesome, to a spot where he could keep an eye on my working.

My hair went crazy big and curly on the 16th as I left it in a big plait over night. It’s a shame that it’s so long and unmanageable at the moment, it just looked like a massive frizz ball! Definitely time for a hair cut.

On the 17th I really enjoyed the contrast between the moody, british sky and these stunning blossoms.

The 18th saw lots of editing work. Nearly a whole day of editing! My eyes definitely needed a rest by the end, but at least I had been very productive. These photo’s are amongst my favourites i’ve ever taken.

On the 19th I found out that I had an interview with London Zoo! I was so excited that I really couldn’t concentrate at work, not the best when working in a kitchen. I burnt myself so many times I lost count and nearly chopped my finger off! Luckily my nail stopped the cut becoming any deeper but it was still pretty nasty.

On the 20th I was starting to feel like I lived in this uniform. Working 60+ hour weeks, 6 days out of 7 most of the time and just constantly tired. I was starting to want just a day to pamper myself, wear make-up and look pretty but I just don’t have the energy even on my days off.

The 21st I was starting to feel positive. I was super excited (and nervous) about this interview and also knew it wasn’t long until Legoland wanted me back, plus i was about to drive up north for a wedding! Life was definitely about to get fun, I just had to stick it out at the pub for a little longer. This mirror is above our bed and was there when we moved in. We’re far too lazy to take it off and I actually kind of like it. It makes me smile.

The 22nd was the wedding of two very close friends! Unfortunately I forgot my camera (silly me) and my phone was dying so I didn’t take many pictures, but I did snap this cute picture of the first dance. The groom had changed into some more comfortable shoes for the party side of the wedding, as had the bride who was now wearing bright pink converse under her dress. Such a lovely day! I’m so happy for them both!

On the 23rd I went back to the south, but before I did I managed a little switcheroo at home, giggling like a naughty school girl the whole time. Mum has never got round to putting up my graduation picture (the woes of a second child!) and so I put mine in my sisters place. I don’t think she’s noticed yet, until she reads this blog post…*evil cackle*

On the 24th i received this sewing pattern I had won! I can’t wait to get stuck in!

On the 25th was my interview with London Zoo! It ran from 9-5 with lots of group exercises, presentations and other things to really get to know if we were right for the job and was such a fun day! It honestly made me want to work there even more, which I didn’t think was possible. I somehow managed to get a selfie with a penguin as well!

After the long interview and then rushing off to work for a close, I wasn’t feeling very awake on the 26th and drank far too much coffee.

On the 27th I got the news that I got the job!! I was so excited and i’m pretty sure I asked the person on the phone ‘Really?!’ several times. I celebrated with a glass (or two) of Merlyn, it’s like Baileys but so much better! I’m still convinced they’re going to ring up and tell me they made a mistake, but It’s quite honestly a dream come true!

On the 28th I started counting down to my start. I wrote it on my calendar and was still bouncing off walls.

On the 1st of March I received a congratulations card from my mum, complete with penguins of course!. How lovely 🙂 And yes, still bouncing off the walls at this stage.

On the 2nd there was a gorgeous rainbow! I could see the whole thing (I haven’t got round to editing those pictures yet though). If only I could find the pot of gold at the end…*sigh*

So that’s me all caught up to this week! I will be posting these weekly as usual from this sunday.

February was most definitely a very exciting month and I’m sure that March will be just as exciting!

Claire x


Exciting Things Ahead

I’m sorry for my absence recently, it has become a little intense on my end! A few people left the pub I work at and, with it all ready being understaffed (especially in the kitchen) i’m suddenly roped into 6 day weeks with over 60 hours. As you can imagine it’s not leaving much time for Penguin Theory-ing.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel as my life is soon to take on a drastic change!

I have somehow managed to bag myself a job and London Zoo! I’m so excited as I seriously love animals (if you hadn’t noticed from reading my blog) and I will be earning more than I do now with a job I just know I’m going to love! Plus I’ll have more time for Penguin Theory as I will be working less hours also. I seriously cannot wait to start! I wish it could be now! It’s shame it’s just a summer job for now, but I plan to work hard and really try to impress.

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I couldn’t resist a penguin selfie.

I am also still owed a lot of holiday from the pub job and so I have next week off (I only found out a couple of days ago!). I will be using that time to catch up with my 365 project posts and making lots of new items for my shop as well as starting some new exciting projects.

A project I really cant wait to start is this gorgeous coat, I won the pattern from an excellent blog: Custom Style . Thank’s Brooke! I can’t wait to get stuck in! I have so many ideas for the fabric choices but just need to buy some fabric large enough. I think this will also be the first project i make a mock-up of first so I need to get some muslin too. Unfortunately I might have to wait for my new job to be able to afford it as the current one (even with all these extra hours) only just covers my rent and other expenses.

By the way brooke, your handwriting is so pretty!

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I also have some very big plans for my photography and will be going on lots of adventures with my camera during the next week, and not just taking photo’s of nature but also getting back into longboarding and other sports.

I’ve already entered the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (just before the deadline!) although i wish i’d had more time to really explore and take more photographs, I still think I might have some good contenders entered but I’m just happy that i’ve at least tried. Fingers crossed!

I really can’t wait for this next month, it’s going to be amazing. As cheesy as it sounds, i feel like it’s the start of the life I’ve always wanted and I couldn’t be happier! Bring on the rest of 2014! 😀

Claire x


Finding Hidden Beauty

I don’t have many lenses for my camera but the ones I do have I really love to play around with.

Other than the lens that came with my camera I have a macro lens and a telephoto lens. I want to focus on the macro lens for this post.

It was the first lens I ever wanted, I’ve always been fascinated by the beauty macro lenses can show you that you may not other wise see. I have always loved to watch nature documentaries and marvelled at the stunning shots of the tiny creatures and patterns that aren’t quite so easy to see with the naked eye.

I love the glimpse of pollen and shape of the stamens in this shot although think I could have improved my focus just a little bit.

Unfortunately I don’t often get my macro lens out, but when I do I am always over the moon with the pictures that I can create with it.

A few days ago I went to Golders Park near Hampstead Heath, London. It’s a gorgeous park with so much to see and do including a little zoo with a wonderful collection of exotic (and not quite so exotic) animals…but more on that in another post.

On my wanders around the park I found this group of Crocus flowers in the middle of the grass. I just couldn’t help but whip out my macro lens and get down on my hands and knees! I loved how the colours really stood out, the bright white petals against the rich green of the grass and the vibrant orange inside.

The bold colours were what caught my attention first, but only when I started snapping did I really notice all their interesting patterns.

I really must have looked crazy twisting and turning to get all sorts of different angles but I didn’t care, I was lost in the moment trying to find these little plants’ hidden treasures.

I realised this is something I do a lot with photography, I get so obsessed with finding the perfect angle for a striking composition that I really don’t care how I look, but I guess it pays off as I am really proud of these shots!

I was delighted to find this bud with it’s unusual shape and pattern.

This bud (above) is probably my favourite shot of the flowers, although maybe not the best technically. I just love the unusual shape and the bold purple stripes running down the petals. These are the kinds of things I want to start showing more of in my photography, the unusual things you wouldn’t normally pay attention too.

It’s always been my thinking that a photographers job is to bring out these moments of beauty that you wouldn’t usually notice. Whether it be the way a man looks at his wife, a dramatic landscape where the weather conditions are just perfect, a deer resting in the sun, no matter the type or style of photography it’s job is the same.

Of course it can also be used to bring out shocking truths, such as an image of a young refugee in a war torn country, but I believe these can even have a certain kind of beauty to them. The beauty doesn’t have to be in the subject of our photo’s, but also in our reaction to them. They can bring forth emotions that we never knew we had or teach us something valuable.

This, I believe, is the sign of a true photographer.

I know I have a lot to learn until I can get to that point, but I hope that someday my photographs will also cause others to stop and think. Whether it’s marvelling at the beauty of the object, or thinking deeply about their own beliefs on the subject, I want my images to really create a lasting impression.

Probably my best composed shot of the day. I love the petal shapes and the bright orange stamens against the simple green background.

I will keep shooting and experimenting and hopefully, one day, i’ll reach my goal.

What do you think is the sign of a true photographer?

Claire x


365 Project – Days 14 to 20

Jan 13th saw a 12 hour shift in the kitchen. Ouch. But hot chocolate with marshmallows made up for it 🙂

Jan 14th saw another 12 hour kitchen shift (double ouch!) plus I wasn’t very well, but my sweet tooth saved the day again as I spoilt myself with yoghurt. I always view yoghurts as a special treat as I very rarely buy them to try and save a bit of money, I seriously love them though, possibly even more than chocolate!!

Jan 15th I still wasn’t very well and took the day off work (I was meant to be on another terribly long shift). By the evening I was starting to feel better and so treated myself to Chinese with the housemates whilst watching films.

I spent most of the 16th playing League of Legends with my housemates. It’s super fun, although quite complicated and stressful at times, but i think i’m starting to pick it up now and am not completely rubbish.

on the 17th I took all the ingredients for a chicken wrap to work with me. Unfortunately I completely failed in making the wrap somehow, but my kitchen friend came to the rescue. Yum!

On the 18th I decided it was a good day to show off my window. I love this window and it’s view. It makes me smile every morning!

Last night I took this picture of my Fish lights. It was after midnight and so it counts as the 19th 😛 My sister got these as a present years ago as I’ve always been obsessed with the sea, they fitted in with my ‘under the sea’ themed room and now I have them strung up on the partition in the middle of my bedroom. I think they’re awesome.

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Next week is a lot nicer shift wise and I plan to do a lot of sewing and adventuring!

Claire x


New Packaging

For a while now I’ve been stuck on how to package my products, usually just sending them off in some purple tissue paper and them, quite honestly, not being that exciting. I want even receiving and opening my items to be a good, memorable experience. I want not only my products to ‘Wow’ but the packaging it comes in to make the moment really special.

I think I’ve finally found a winner and have sent off my first two parcels with my new wrapping design!

When you open up your parcel now you will find a pretty little brown package wrapped with a bold, orange ribbon and finished with a Penguin Theory’ business card.

The package wont be sellotaped so that if it is a gift you can open it up to check the product is to your liking before wrapping it back up again to give away.

Alongside the package will be a special Penguin Theory Invoice. Inside will be the product you have purchased nestled amongst some bright orange tissue paper.

Unfortunately the two packages I sent off yesterday had purple tissue paper as the orange I ordered didn’t arrive until I was leaving the house for the post office! Doh!

I also have some good ideas on how to package my items at craft fairs, although i still need to find a way to make my vision a reality.

I am super pleased with my new wrapping and it’s making me even more excited to sell lots of amazing products this year! I’ve already made two sales before January even really started and have so many ideas already in progress and a commission in the works, not a bad start to the year at all.


New Year, New Start.

I know this is something which is said every year, but for the first time I feel like it is actually true for me.

This year will be so much bigger and better than last year and it really will be a new start! I’ve just moved house, far bigger and better than the last place and I actually have a place I can call an office (I will have to take photographs soon!). After 2 years I finally seem to have a way out of the day job, which was only meant to be temporary in the first place, and seem to have bagged a job which actually excites me and makes me happy to go to work. And I’m more determined than ever to make The Penguin Theory a success.

Last year i’m afraid I only managed to reach one of my goals, but luckily I think that goal will be crucial for success this year. I am finally a lot more organised than I’ve ever been in my life, keeping to deadlines, sorting out paperwork, keeping notes in my diary. There is still a lot of improvement to be done but i don’t think myself or my family have ever seen or expected me to be quite so diligent.

I thought I should have some goals for this year as well, but this time maybe actually manage more than one. I decided to narrow it down to 5 big goals of things that definitely have to happen.

1) Make The Penguin Theory more successful 

Regularly update my blog and other social media. make an item and/or go on a photography adventure every week. Make more sales on Etsy and at craft fairs. I don’t have to be living off it (although that would be nice) but i definitely want to make visible progress.

2) Get a Job I actually enjoy

I need a day job to fund my penguin theory adventures (unfortunately) but whilst I can’t survive of The Penguin Theory for the moment, I should at least be in a job I enjoy. My current job was never meant to be permanent and yet i’ve been there for almost two years.  It’s time to move on to something I can look forward to everyday and I think I may have already found it! A couple of months ago I worked at Legoland for a week and loved every second of it. It’s a longer commute but so much more enjoyable which makes it an obvious choice for me. Not only are the hours more regular but they’re actually during the day!  The only problem is that Legoland closes for a few months every year as a lot of the rides cannot be operated during the winter months. I am still trying to decide if I should keep the pub job for 1 day a week so that I can definitely have work in the winter or just to quit altogether and hope that I can find a temp job or make enough money through penguin theory for the winter months.

3) Go travelling

I want to go on holiday and explore somewhere I haven’t been before. In all honesty even somewhere in the UK would be fine, but it would be amazing to go abroad.

4) Enter Wildlife Photographer of the Year

It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with and in these last few months i’ve realised that I really do love to take photographs. I’ve always followed Wildlife Photographer of the Year and seen the exhibitions whenever possible. This year I’m determined to enter. It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, or even get a mention, I just need to try.  I will most definitely be viewing the exhibition at the Natural History museum this year as well.

5) Pay off Debts and Start Saving

I wont lie, the end of this year has been horrendous money wise. Ash, unfortunately, had to leave university as we couldn’t afford for him to continue and with this difficult time in the job market he had to rely on me for a few months, the problem being that minimum wage is barely enough to cover my costs. Luckily I had a lot of savings but they are completely wiped now and we’ve even had to borrow money from my mum and our housemates. But now that Ash has, not one but two jobs ,we are slowly paying everyone back and can hopefully build up some savings between us again.

So did you reach your goals for last year and what are your goals for this year?


First Surf

Last weekend Ash and I went on a trip to cornwall to try a new sport. Cornwall is well known for it’s surf and this has been something we’ve both been wanting to try for a while so we figured why not.

A couple of friends joined us too, they also happen to be the guys we’re looking for a house with once our lease is up in a couple of months and so we decided it would be our first official house holiday (and also a chance to see if we could really live together).

Men doing Manly Things

Our campsite was nice, what more do you want other than a field, toilets and a shower really?

As it had been a  4 hour drive it was already afternoon and so once the tent had been set up and food cooked we just chilled out together for the rest of the evening.

The next day we went to Newquay. It was a nice relaxing day playing in the surf, building sand castles and sliding around on our skim board.

Skim boards are designed for very shallow water and literally ‘skim’ the surface. They’re pretty fun and fast but don’t expect to stay on your feet for long.

The next day was far more active as we decided to brave the surf. We had a two hour lesson with a surf school on the beach, there were cheaper ones which did whole day classes but they had all been sold out and actually in hindsight we don’t know what they could have even done with us for a whole day.

Ash was the first of us to manage to catch a wave and stand but I wasn’t far behind.

We found the hardest part was the catching of the wave, the timing and speed were difficult to get right and we were often left behind whilst the wave raced to shore.

We also found that it was extremely tiring, our arms began to ache in the first hour and the constant battling against waves to get out to sea took a lot out of you. But the moment you caught a wave it really felt like you were flying and made all the effort worth it.

The shock of being able to stand is evident on my face

We ended up renting our surfboards and wetsuits out for the rest of the day (For only £10! Bargain!) and surfed until we could surf no more! They also had a photographer who took pictures of us surfing and CDs we’re available to buy afterwards for £10, that worked out as £2.50 each as  we bought one between the four of us,  bargain!

We all slept well that night.

The next day we drove all the way to Wales as my mum was visiting her boyfriend and I hadn’t seen either of them in such a long time.

The four housemates and a castle

As soon as Ash saw the first hill he fell in love.

We met with my mum and Andy before going on a nice (steep) walk to see the Welsh countryside  and explored and old castle before sitting in a pub for a well deserved pint. Wales really is beautiful country and I’d recommend anyone to go visit, the views are just spectacular.

We finished off the holiday by visiting the Brecon Beacons. We didn’t go far, just found a nice, quiet road for Ash to finally skate on with some amazing views.

All too soon it was time to come back to London. We had a really awesome trip away and we think we want to make Cornwall and Wales a regular thing (although maybe not at the same time)

Slides with a view


A Wild 24th

It was my birthday a few weeks ago and to celebrate I decided what better way than with Zoo Lates at London Zoo!

I am obsessed with animals (especially Lions and Penguins) and felt that I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

The zoo was filled with exciting things to see and do, we started with the animals, in particular the Africa area. We spent probably far too long laughing at an Okapi’s tongue, watched a graceful giraffe, braved the nocturnal section, searched for the illusive sumatran tiger, partied with the penguins, longed after lions and much more!

Penguin Pose!

My favourites, of course, were the Lions and Penguins. The Lions we’re so close to the glass I could’ve touched them! The penguins unfortunately stayed towards the back of their enclosure, but then again it was right before they closed so maybe they were all tired. I pulled a penguin pose for the camera and then tried to steal one of the cardboard cut outs…Or at least thought about stealing it…

Sleeping Lions

They also had lots of bars, all with a different theme such as the playroom where you could have a wrestling match, hula hoop, play jenga and even twister! There was a silent disco where everyone wears headphones which the music is played through, hilarious to listen too when you take them off and hear everyone singing out of tune. There was also a big international food market with lots of tasty delights to sample.

So excited, even though it was just cardboard…

I wore a bright, high waisted, tribal skirt to to give off an African feel and matched it with a bright orange crop top and sandals. I felt quite…naked. I’m not used to going out in such little clothing, but it was really warm and so i didn’t regret it.

I even painted my nails to match with the animal theme!

The whole event was very well run. There were loads of things to do, not just seeing the animals, the staff were extremely helpful and the atmosphere was electric! The animals started going to bed (or so we were told) at 8:30 and gradually the enclosures were closed off until everyone was in the ‘entertainments’ area for the last half hour.

Afterwards we carried on the party in Camden, always a fun place to go.

Sisters and their boyfriends 🙂

The day after was my actual birthday. I decided what better way to celebrate and recover from the night before than by having a bbq! We borrowed a friends garden and bbq and then had a nice, relaxed afternoon chilling in the sun (if you ignore the random downpour that stopped as suddenly as it started!)

Brii (south african bbq) master Ashley flipping some burgers!

For the bbq I decided to dress up a bit still and wore one of my favourite dresses. I bought it at a festival and have always loved the way it poofs out in the skirt. The fabric is also really pretty, I fell in love with it at first sight!

Red accents

Dress with a view!Belt and pattern

I kept myself warm with a cute, batwing cardigan from warehouse.

Super comfy!

Batwing

I made these earrings ages ago and found they matched perfectly! I really like the little red and blue beads and was experimenting with using suade, i think they turned out really nice.

Handmade Earrings

The bag is from Zatchels and was a suprise birthday gift from my sister! Zatchels are all handmade and just exquisite. I absolutely love it and it even has a little space for one of my business cards to be on display! They come in a wide range of colours and patterns too.

ZatchelBusiness card

It was a really great birthday! Hopefully next years will be just as good!

Funny face


The Do’s and Don’ts of Festivals – Camping

What better place to start my Do’s and Don’ts of festivals than with the campsite?

This will be the first and last place you see and will be what you call home for the next few days. So what should and should you do and not do when camping for a festival? (or just camping in general actually)

campsite

DO

Arrive early. It’s going to get busy, very busy. Everyone will steal the best spots (not on a slope, close – but not too close – to the toilets) and you might not even be able to camp together if there’s a big group of you.

DONT

Be afraid to ask neighbours for help with your tent etc… You might need to borrow a mallet, you might just not be very good at putting up tents. Everyones friendly (the fun festival spirit will do that to you) and it’s a good way to meet someone new!

campingstove

DO

Bring a camping stove. They come pretty cheap and mean you don’t have to buy the expensive food from vendors (lets face it, you’ve probably spent enough on the tickets). Plus their re-usable for future camping trips/festivals!

I recommend some bacon for the mornings and some form of super noodles for lunch.

Cheap, easy, tasty.

bbq

It’s always good to bring a bbq as well, everyone loves a bbq right? Just remember to place it on top of some stones or bricks! You don’t want to start a fire or burn all the grass now do you! Get some meat and you’re all set! Plus it will provide you with some heat.

tea

Who needs a kettle?!

DONT

Bring things that aren’t needed, you wont need that kettle when a pan works just fine! You don’t want to be the one everyone laughs at when you’re struggling with far too many bags, and don’t even get me started on the girls that bring suitcases…

DO

Bring some form of entertainment, speakers, a guitar, a rubbishy mag/newpaper. There are going to be times when you’re just sat around doing nothing at the campsite and you will want something to keep you busy.

campsiteband

These guys we’re luckily very soothing when we were going to sleep

DONT

Be super loud well into the night. Respect your neighbours. Sure the campsite will be noisy late on, but once most people (especially your neighbours) start going to bed then it’s time to turn it down just a little.

DO

Bring clothes for both warm and cold. Even if the weather forecast is good, the nights will get chilly (at least in the UK). Layers will be your best friend!

 

DONT

Forget wet wipes. Festival campsites rarely have showers so have a ‘wet wipe’ shower. Not ideal, I know, but will make you feel a little less grubby. Just accept that your hair is going to get greasy, long hair can be neatened with a nice plait.

firelog

DO

Bring a fire log. Stand it on top of your bbq and blocks so it doesn’t burn the ground. The nights can get pretty cold and even if it isn’t cold it can at least provide some light.

More ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of festivals will be coming in the next few days, but for now it is time to prepare for my birthday celebrations!

Please share any of your Do’s and Don’ts of  festival campsites in the comments! I’d love to hear them. 🙂

‘Till next time!


Ladies and Gentlemen Of the Road – An Awesome Weekend

Last weekend I went to a festival called ‘Gentlemen of the Road’. This festival is a little different to normal festivals as it has many different ‘stopovers’ rather than being based in one town. This year it went to 5 different places, mainly in the US but they also had one in Lewes which is near Brighton (UK). The whole thing is the brainchild of Mumford and Sons, one of my favourite bands of the moment. Their music is just beautiful and so full of feeling. I absolutely love them.

My sister and I, she was the one who bought me the ticket 🙂

They designed these ‘stopovers’ to not only enjoy amazing music but also to involve the local people and their culture.

“the spirit of the project remains: a music festival that celebrates local people, food and culture, where everyone pitches in and everybody gets something back.”

Source : http://www.gentlemenoftheroad.com/stopovers/

This really was apparent as soon as you walked into the venue, and what a venue. It helps that the town itself is also gorgeous. We arrived a day early as we had a long(ish) car ride and wanted to make sure we weren’t rushed in putting up our tent. As we drove through the town we noted how quaint and pretty it was, for any Yorkshire people reading this, it reminded us a lot of Beverly.

The campsite

We weren’t camping at the official campsite but another one called ‘Spring Barn Farm’, a really quaint little farm with lots of animals for kiddies to see and a lovely little farm shop.

As we were a day early we were one of the first to set up and so had the pick of the field (at least of the area we were allowed in)! Obviously we went for a nice flat spot with a good view and not too close to the toilets or bins (you don’t want the smell to waft over now do you!). After we’d set up we relaxed with a few ciders and a bbq. A very nice, quiet relaxed evening.

The next day the main events didn’t start until around 5, we we’re able to spend most of the day under the baking sun, in our bikini’s, watching everyone struggle with their tents in the heat. It was lovely.

Sun worship

We had been informed that the campsites barn had been set up to have a little bar and food area (apparently the bar would be open until 2am!). We didn’t go there for breakfast as we had plenty of bacon and eggs, but we just couldn’t resist the lure of ice cream! I imagine they made a pretty penny with that bar as it always seemed busy, it was definitely a good idea for them and just what the campers wanted!

To get to the festival we had to walk for about a mile through fields, I’m pretty sure i’ve walked longer through a campsite at a festival before and so the fact we we’re walking through some pretty fields rather than in between tents was very welcomed.

A Gentlemanly Flag

Once we got there the queues weren’t that bad at all, although we had got there early (Again) and so missed most of the waiting it seems. Some people said they had to wait around 45minutes just to get their wristbands! I think that was just down to needing more staff and in all honesty I’ve waited longer at V fest. If that was the only problem they had for the whole weekend then they did a pretty damn good job in my opinion. The whole thing was definitely very well run from what I saw.

As soon as we walked in we we’re greeted with rows of waving flags, coats of arms and old style food stalls. It was almost like being whisked back to medieval time, that’s if it wasn’t for the giant glowing letters spelling out ‘Gentlemen of The Road’. It did have a modern feel to an old style and was very in-keeping with the town it was situated in and the grounds (which looked like an old castle or monastery) the event actually took place in. It really set the mood, a great start to a great event.

A Dramatic Entrace

 

Our group enjoying the sunshine

On the first day we saw bands such as  Youth Lagoon, British Sea Power and Vampire Weekend. It was a great line up and great start to the festival. Vampire Weekend are always great and we had a good dance and sing along.

Vampire Weekend being awesome

As always at festivals there was a lot of interesting outfits. The usual festival wear; bright flowers, crop tops, dungerees, plaits, hippie-esq outfits etc… There was also a lot of fancy dress including a couple of bananas, home made t-shirts as well as a lot of merch t-shirts bought and then immediately worn. I took a lot of pictures of the festival fashions (which made me feel oh so stalker-ish) and will be doing a blog post on the do’s and don’ts of festivals and festival fashions in the near future.

The best hat i’ve ever seen…most likely.

All too soon it was time to head back to the campsite. The way was nicely lit and they had lots of marshals to make sure you didn’t get lost.

Cider also took up a large part of the day…

The next day started just as relaxed as the day before. The arena didn’t open until the afternoon leaving us plenty of time to sit around and get ourselves ready.

We bought some posh bread and Brie from the farm shop, we we’re living the dream and felt very middle class. We had the brie with some bacon and rolls we had leftover for breakfast (it was mouthwateringly amazing) and then saved some of the brie and the fancy bread to take into the venue as nibbles.

Fancy Guitar Shot 

The line up on the second day was again amazing, including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Mystery Jets, The Vaccines (one of my mums favourite bands) and (of course!) Mumford and Sons.

There were also some lesser known bands playing. One of my favourites of these being Bears Den who had some Hauntingly beautiful music.

Bears Den’s Drummer showing he can multi-task like a pro! (It was his birthday as well!)

As the day went on the bands just kept getting better and soon we were on our feet constantly dancing away! The arena was getting packed but still we danced around as if no one was watching and loving it! (although maybe the cider had something to do with our dance moves…)

My sister and her friend getting excited for the Vaccines

By the time Mumford and sons came on we could barely see the stage, but we didn’t care. All the performances we’re amazing, everyone really put a lot into it and it was obvious by the crowds reactions that their time and effort was much appreciated.

Usually at a festival you find that there’s at least one or two acts that just aren’t all that great, they don’t seem to want to be there or just aren’t very good live. But every one of them was brilliant. Maybe it’s because it’s quite small compared to others so the acts are more carefully selected, but it definitely made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

Mumford making me swoon

At the end of Mumford and Sons set they invited ALL the other acts onto the stage and they all jammed together! It was incredible.

Then the after party started with ‘The Very Best Sound System’ which was very dancey with an african feel. Definitely a great end to the festival.

Everyone on stage!

The whole thing was just so well put together, Mumford and Sons (and their team) have done such a good job.

We ended up partying well into the night and had a lazy morning whilst watching everyone pack up their tents. All too soon we too had to pack up and leave, I was sad to leave after such an awesome weekend but was most definitely looking forward to a shower!

If one of the Stopovers comes near you then I highly recommend going! (as long as you like the music of course).It was such an amazing weekend and I will most certainly be going next year if they’re around again!

So thank you to all the organisers, Spring barn farm and Mumford and Sons for a really great weekend away! I hope to see you all next year!

‘Till next time


Date G – Mini Golf

For date G I took Ash to mini golf, but not just any mini golf, this was dinosaur mini golf! 

What I Wore

I went summery with a pretty green, sparkly dress, sandals and a light shirt.

Dinosaur in a Jazzy Pose

The Date

We started by walking through Richmond Park, one of my favourite places in the whole of London, before catching a bus to the Golf. I’ve missed our walks and it was just really nice to just be together strolling along and talking about nonsense.

We saw a lot of bunnies which we’re out enjoying the sunshine, but we didn’t see any deer for once. They must have been at the other side of the park.

Relaxing in Richmond Park

Eventually we had to drag ourselves away and actually go golfing. The place itself took a while for us to find the way to and involved quite a bit of walking.

The actual golf was great! The decorations we’re brilliant with dinosaurs towering above you, a bright blue river running throughout the whole course and some great dinosaur facts to read whilst you played.

One of my many misses.

We we’re both terrible at playing, especially myself who seems to have a problem with aim, the problem being I don’t even try to.

Throughout the course they were playing the most terrible cheesy music, such as the YMCA. I was kind of disappointed by the music as I think it detracted from the feel of the course, although I guess kids coming to play might have enjoyed it. I would have much preferred some Jurassic park-esq music, the kind of music that would make you feel epic as you played.

 

Final Thoughts

I think it was a great date personally, we both laughed at each others terrible skills, the theme of the golf course made it all so much more exciting and, even though the music was terrible and a little annoying, we got to laugh at the tunes being played. All together i think it was a great place to take a date, wether it’s the first or you’ve been together for a long time.


Date F – Feeding Squirrels

Ash in Action. See his pictures on his instagram (@Ashloids)

For date F Ash knows I love furry little creatures and long walks so he took me to Hyde Park to feed to abundance of squirrels.

What I Wore

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See my outfit on Lookbook!

I decided to go for the slightly hippie look with a floaty skirt and a top with a horse and flowers on it. Combined with my brown boots, this was a very comfy outfit. Perfect for a nice long walk in the park.

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The Date

Before we even got to the park I had a nice surprise. When waiting for Ash to go to the loo I heard my name being called. I spun around and saw a University friend I haven’t seen since graduation. We did the usual girly scream hug thing and then had a nice little chat. She had just auditioned for Wicked, although she didn’t quite get the part unfortunately. We soon parted ways though because she had to go home and we had out date to go on! I’m still amazed that I just managed to bump into an old friend in the middle of london!

Taken by Ash

We got to the park and wandered around for a little bit, looking at the pretty flowers and trees and hoping for squirrels to feed. We had a bag of Monkey Nuts as we thought these would be the best for the squirrels.

The first squirrel we found was very brave. He came straight up to us and immediately took a nut. Then more squirrels joined him, but these were a lot more timid.

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The Greedy Squirrel

He kept coming and taking more and more, the others eventually ventured close enough for a nibble but were still very timid.

The 3 Squirrel-teers

Soon they were joined by pigeons and even a little rat. People started crowding round us and we thought that these squirrels had had enough so we moved on.

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As we continued our walk we saw a heron, we gave some nuts to a little girl who was wanting to take a picture of a squirrel (she succeeded) and even found a friendly swan near some pretty fountains.

We eventually started getting hungry and went to find a pub to have a bite to eat. We settled for our usual choice of wetherspoons (and not just because I work there, but because it’s always so cheap compared with everywhere else!). We had some nice burgers and mochas to warm us up a little.

Then we decided we just wanted to walk in a random direction and see what we found. We walked down a long street, full of interesting shops and cafes, big houses, posh hotels, until eventually we decided we were tired and it was time to find the nearest tube.

Final Thoughts

It was a really fun date, squirrels really are funny little creatures. The way they try to get close whilst still trying to stay at a distance, the way their tails move to help their balance, their cute little faces and paws. I definitely had a lot of fun. Hyde park is always a great place to go as well and I do really enjoy going for walks with Ash. Hopefully we can go again when it’s just a little warmer, maybe take some skates with us.

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Now I have to think of Date G! Maybe some miniature golf or something? Any ideas?


Date E – Epping Forest

For Date E I took Ash to Epping forest as we both enjoy taking long walks together.

What I Wore

It was sunny but still a little nippy so I made sure I layered up and took some warm accessories.

I ended up wearing my trenchcoat with skinny jeans as they’re simple but always stylish.

I had brown boots but changed into my awesome wellies to keep my feet dry as it was pretty muddy.

I also took my knit gloves, cashmere scarf and an awesomely fluffy hat to add a bit of drama to the outfit as well as keeping myself nice and warm.

The Date

We generally just had a nice little wander into the forest, taking pictures of all the life around us and enjoying some time together.

The highlight of the trip for me was spotting a glimpse of a Deer in the undergrowth. It was just a glimpse as it quickly noticed us and hurriedly trotted away before I could even get my lens cap off.

After about an hour of casual wanderings, we came across a pub and realised we were both quite peckish. We both ended up eating exactly the same, a bacon, brie and avacado baguette with an apple juice, and we’re not disappointed! It was delicious!

Then we began the walk back, which was a lot quicker as we weren’t stopping to take so many photographs. Somehow we managed to not even get lost!

Final Thoughts

It was a lovely date, we haven’t been on our walks for a while because the weather has been too cold so it was nice to be outside again. The food was delicious, the company obviously enjoyable, and it was just a nice and relaxing day. 🙂

We will have to visit Epping forest again in summer though. I bet it would look completely different!

‘Till next time!


Alphabet Dating – D is for Deserie

After a bit of a hiatus on the Alphabet Dating front we have finally gone on Date D!

Ash had been talking about it for ages but we never seemed to find the right time to go. All I knew was that it was in Cockfosters and it was a meal.

 

The Outfit

As it was a meal I wanted to dress up, even though I had no Idea how posh this place actually was. I had bought this new lace top recently and decided I wanted to wear it. I thought it went well with this pretty, but plain, purple top underneath. The skirt is one of my favourite wardrobe items and had exactly the same shade of purple as my top and so I decided to mix patterns and go for a lace and tribal look! It’s a shame my hair is so unruly at the moment (it’s in a dire need of styling) as I think the mix actually turned out better than I actually expected! I decided to team it with my usual black tights and pixie boots.

Click the picture to see it on Lookbook!

The Date

The place he took me to was a Greek restaurant called Deserie. It was extremely busy (always a good sign) and we were given a table provided we were out in an hour as they already had it booked.

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It was a lot more expensive than we were expecting, but then we’re used to Wetherspoon prices and are both quite stingy at times. I really fancied calamari but decided the price was a little too much for our budget and so settled for chicken skewers whilst Ash had the pork. The skewers came with a salad and a choice of chips or rice and were delicious! My chicken was tender and succulent, ash wasn’t so lucky as the pork was a little tough but still tasty. My rice was soft and lemony and left my mouth watering for more!

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For pudding I was extremely tempted by a chocolate fudge cake, but decided that I should go for one of the Greek choices as I can get a fudge cake at my work.

Before our dessert we were given some tasty jelly things on sticks and some pineapples with grapes. Delicious!

jelly

I eventually decided on Gelatoboureko, or at least that’s what I ordered. I think I was actually given a Baklava after looking on Google as it was a sweet pastry rather than a custard pudding. What ever it was it was delicious, Ash said they tasted a lot like the South African treat koeksisters. He ordered Shamali and Icecream which was a semolina based pudding and also delicious although we both preferred my dish.

greekdesserts

 

End Thoughts

The whole night was very enjoyable. We talked nonstop and we’re constantly laughing, one of the reasons why I love being with him, we just always seem to be having fun and very rarely argue. The staff at the restaurant were very friendly, the food did take quite a while to come out but it was extremely busy (and a huge birthday party table ordered just before us) so they can be forgiven. The food itself was delicious, pricey but delicious.

I think we would definitely go again, although maybe when money isn’t so tight.

Overall Date D = Success!

Now I need to think of a something to do for Date E! Anyone got any ideas?


Sisterly Memories

Festive Sisters

I personally believe it’s quite important to be close to your family, maybe not necessary, but important. I never thought I was all that close to my sister when we we’re growing up and was pretty certain that the knocking out of my two front teeth and releasing the car seat so that I smashed my face into the dashboard were definitely done on purpose, but recently I have realised I was wrong. We we’re in fact very close, it’s just neither of us realised it. She swore blind that she hated my guts and I would have been convinced I was adopted if I’d never seen a picture of my father. How ever, as we’ve grown and we’ve seemingly become closer, I’ve started thinking about my childhood memories and realised that we we’re actually close all along.

Here are a few of my favourite sisterly memories:

Sea Otter

My family were lucky enough to go on a lot of holidays. One particular holiday my sister and I were playing in the sea and I noticed she was floating in a way that made her look like a Sea Otter. She asked what kind of noise sea otters made and I replied with ‘I dunno…mip mip?’. This lead to a lot of laughter and we even found a song (Island in the Sun by Weezer) where we decided the beginning lyrics we’re actually ‘mip mip’. I love this song and sometimes listen to it just to remember this moment and giggle to myself.

Another classic holiday moment. My mother shouted ‘Pose!’ and this happened.

Miracle Cures

In primary school my sister caught chicken pox and then happened to give it to me. She felt bad about it and so baked a cake with smarties on top to resemble spots! I have my doubts as to whether she actually felt bad or just wanted cake but it still cheered me up immensely.

Another time she made me a tasty treat was again when I was ill. I had come back from an investigation at the hospital and the actual procedure somehow caused me to have really bad migraines for a few days after. One day my sister came home to find me in bed, curtains closed, duvet above my head, in the middle of the day. She obviously knew something was wrong, it was in fact probably one of the worst migraines i’ve ever had. She knows I just love pudding (i have a ridiculously sweet tooth) and she also knows I love bananas in custard and golden syrup. Because of this she decided to mix them together and made a glorious concoction of banana, custard AND golden syrup. It was so incredibly sickly and I felt so ill that it took me over an hour to eat. She kept checking on me and complaining about how little I’d eaten as I groaned from under the duvet, but eventually something in that bowl started to work it’s magic and the migraines I’d been having for several days suddenly disappeared completely. Ever since, when ever I’ve had a migraine I’ve made a bowl of banana and custard with golden syrup (at least when i’ve had the ingredients) and it has worked every time. Plus it really is deliciously sweet!

We couldn’t help but stop the car when we saw this hilariously rude sign.

Naughty Choir Girls

When we were younger we went to church a lot. I say a lot, I mean every sunday. I don’t think I really believe in religion now, and the sermons were reeeaaally boring, but I did love to sing in the choir and still do (although I only go to church occasionally when I go home). However for a child church really is the most boring place on earth and so we often found other ways to amuse ourselves, secretly so the other members of the congregation still thought we were the little angels we tried to pretend we were.  This often resulted in us pulling funny faces at each other and mouthing conversations, normally trying to make the other one laugh to get them into trouble. Normally my sister won as I idolised her and found almost every joke of hers hilarious. We also had a few hymns that still make me laugh out loud to this day, my favourite of these being 2 lines taken from George R. Woodward’s : This Joyful Eastertide.  In the last verse you will find these words:

‘Till trump from east to west,

Shall wake the dead in number’

Being young and silly we took this as a smelly fart that was so bad it even woke the dead. I don’t think either of us have ever managed to get the whole way through that song without laughing.

The old choir days. See if you can guess which one was me. Hint : I was a little chubbier

Of course there are many, many more moments which I just can’t think of right now. I am so glad I’m not an only child as I not only would have missed out on so much fun and laughter, and the occasional fight, but I also have missed out on having her as a best friend. I know she’ll always look out for me as she has done in the past, and she is also very supportive of my crafts. She always reads through my documents, most recently the CV, and helps me to improve. I really do appreciate her and hope I can be just as much help to her one day.

But that’s enough of this soppy post (although there might be one about my mother in the near future), it’s time to apply for jobs!

Have you got a sibling you’re extremely grateful for? Or do you have someone else who supports you in the same way? Or do you have any funny family stories or in jokes?


Alphabet Dating: Letter C – The Coffee Date (+Ice Skating)

Ash is an avid coffee drinker. I make him a cup every morning to get him out of bed and he always takes a giant flask with him to university to keep him going.

I honestly don’t think he could function without coffee and so I knew a coffee date would be perfect! I think this kind of date is great personally, it’s affordable, comfy and gives you a good chance to have a really nice chat. Plus you can dress up or down depending on your mood or how serious a date it may be!

We have been wanting to go Ice skating for a while as well so decided to combine the two.

We got a bus to Muswell hill and found an O’Neills there. We had got there pretty late and so the usual (and cheap) coffee shops we’re already closed. The pub was set in an old church and was an absolutely gorgeous building. It had a big hall with two large staircases up either side leading to more seating. They had twinkling christmas lights all around making the place look even more magical! I was going to take a picture and completely forgot! I will definitely have to back, it was just so pretty.

Coffee

Ash ended up getting a Latte and I got a hot chocolate. They were delightfully creamy, although I would have liked some squirty cream or something on the top of my drink, but maybe that’s just me being greedy.

We also decided we were hungry and so ordered a seafood platter and a bowl of chips to share. It was pretty pricey (already not turning out to be the cheap date we expected due to our my bad planning) but it sounded nice enough. When it arrived we were a bit disappointed that there didn’t seem all that much on the plate, definitely didn’t look like £11 worth at any rate. However as soon as we started eating we were transported to another world (corny I know but It was seriously delicious). I think I can honestly say it was the nicest fish I have ever tasted.

Platter of heavenliness

There was some battered fish which was deliciously crunchy on the outside yet wonderfully moist on the inside. Some smoked salmon on ‘colcannon cakes’ (which I now know is potato and a type of cabbage fried) which were so unbelievably scrumptious I could have eaten a whole plate of! Breaded Calamari which was delightfully crunchy! Skewered King prawns which held so much flavour that you just wanted more, and lastly some garlic chiabatta bread.

We we’re surprisingly full after eating it all (although I do still think I could have eaten the whole plate to myself quite easily) and decided it was time to move on to ‘Ally Pally’ for some nice winter fun.

The ice skating there isn’t the cheapest, but it was the closest place to us and we have really been wanting to go! They do how ever do late night sessions all the way until 11pm! The staff were very friendly and we were soon in and on the ice. It wasn’t all that busy, full but not packed, which was nice. Ash is quite skillful and started doing his little tricks with spinning and skating backwards. I tried to keep up behind, wobbling along like a child who had only just learnt how to walk.

Showing off with his tricks

I promise I did use to be quite good at ice skating (although i’ve never been good at stopping unless it’s abruptly) but I think as I’ve grown older I’ve become more bothered about the falling which is holding me back. I did get into it more towards the end of the night, though, and was able to actually gain a little speed! I tried to learn a little bit of backwards skating but it just seemed to end with me almost doing the splits every time!

We also spent a bit of time at the sides resting my poor aching ankles and people watching. There were quite a few figure skaters there learning new spins in the centre, out of the way of the general skaters. They were doing some very impressive things and making me extremely jealous.

This was just before almost falling over…

There were also some people who could barely even move on the ice, the kind who try to walk normally and wonder why they can’t stay upright. They we’re amusing to watch, as I’m sure I was as well. There seemed to be quite a few couples there with one of them having to help the other along. Ice rinks are definitely a good place for ‘breaking the ice’ (sorry about the pun) on a first date in my opinion, and perfect for breaking down that first touch barrier (just like Ash and I’s first date at the rollerdisco!).

As it got later the place emptied even more and I gained even more confidence as the obstacles were reduced. I still couldn’t get back up to my old speeds of when I was a daredevil child, but I wasn’t looking quite so pathetic.

We grabbed our things and then went home very satisfied with another successful date!

Date D is next and Ash wont tell me what it is! He’s just giving cryptic clues which are making me very impatient…

‘Till next time!


The Origins of Our Alphabet Dating

Remember I said it was my sister who told me about the Idea of Alphabet dating as one of her friends was doing it?

Well this friend has now been included in a blog! So far her dates seem far more adventurous than mine and Ashley’s, but we have plenty more to come!

If you want to read what they’ve done so far then you can find it here on Florence Finds

It’s a really good read!

‘Till next time


Alphabet Dating – B is for Bowling and Bonfire Night

Ash was in charge of date B and no matter how much I tried to guess, he wouldn’t let me know where we were going.

I was pretty shocked when we got there as it turned out to be bowling, something Ash really does not enjoy but he knows I love it.  It’s so sweet that he would even think of taking me to something he hates so much!

The reason he doesn’t like bowling is because he’s not exactly good at it, and no one likes things they’re not good at. However, after a little bit of teaching from me (despite also not being all that accomplished myself), he soon got into the swing of things and even scored a strike or two!

He also bought us some food from the diner there. He got a burger and I got a hotdog with some extra onion rings and breaded cheese. Unfortunately, although my hotdog was yummy, the rest was just so so. Ash wasn’t particularly impressed with his burger and the onion rings and cheesy bites weren’t really cooked enough. I don’t think we’ll be eating there again if we ever go bowling in future, would have been better to go to McDonalds.

A little underwhelmed…

But it was still a very fun date. Bowling is always a winner in my opinion. It gets you up, active and breaks the ice (if there’s ice to break).

After we finished bowling we had one game in the arcade (we only had a pound on us). The air hockey table was the winner and we both got rather too into it until Ash became victorious (obviously I was just too tired from the bowling…)

However the day was not over as it was also the 5th and we had already planned to go to a fireworks display in Walthamstow. Ash had actually never been to a fireworks display before and I knew this had to be fixed as this is one of my favourite nights of the year!

We got there not too long after the gates opened and decided to go have a look at the fairground. We were both looking forward to some good rides but as we got there we realised all the rides were the practically the same…Usually you find theres at least a good variety but these were all the same ride just with a part that span a slightly different way each time. There wasn’t even a ‘Hollywood’ or ‘UFO’ sort of ride.  Still, we paid £1.50 (cheap!!) to go on the one we decided looked the most fun and had a few fun minutes spinning around and waving our legs around in the air.

We then spent some time wondering around and buying candy floss, toffee apples and some cadburys hot chocolate with baileys in it! There was also a hog roast, paella and the usual burger vans. It was a very good and varied selection.

We wondered around for a bit before going to ask when the fireworks were starting. Apparently it wasn’t for another 2 hours (we’d already been there for around an hour) so we went to a nice little cafe and bought some mochas so that we could sit in the warmth for a bit.

When the fireworks did finally start we were certainly not disappointed. They were definitely the best fireworks i’ve ever been to see, although that isn’t saying much as these were on a slightly bigger scale and it was a lot busier so it’s bound to have more money put into the event. They were timed to the various music perfectly and really built up to a great finale!

It was definitely a fun day out and the fireworks were a spectacular end to a good day.

Now I just have to figure out what to do for date C….

‘Till next time!


Alphabet Dating – Starting with A

A few weeks ago my sister told me about one of her friends who had started Alphabet Dating with her boyfriend. This basically meant that they took it in turns to choose a date but it has to follow the alphabet. For example, ‘A’ could be a date to an Arcade, ‘B’ could be a Bike ride etc.

Ash and I have decided to do the same as we really liked the idea of it (ok so it was mainly me but he agreed it could be fun). I chose our ‘A’ Date and decided to take us to Anime Expo (also known as Comic Con) as I know Ash has been dying to go.

It’s basically a big convention for anime, games and TV shows. There were various talks throughout the day, signings, games consoles to play and un-discovered talent selling their wares.

Giant Tardis

It is also well known for Cosplay and, as expected, there was a lot of it! We saw storm troopers, loads of Naruto’s, millions of zombies, a princess leia (with a lightsaber and not a gun, much to Ash’s disgust), an awesome transformer, slenderman, Princess peach, some practically naked girls (even in this cold weather) and so many more! I love dressing up and so loved looking at all the weird and wonderful costumes. Some people really do go all out.

Being turned to the darkside

We mainly wondered around just looking at all the wonders the shop owners had to offer but there were also talks going on all day and games areas where you play both new and old consoles. Nintendo were there with the WiiU and gave us free keyrings! Unfortunately we couldn’t be bothered to wait actually play on the WiiU but it did look really fun!

I didn’t really buy much myself (I actually came back with money which was unexpected!), but I did get this cute little toadstool ring made with real moss, and this hilariously awesome poster of Godzilla by SilentReaper. I also bought my first Christmas present, i’ve officially started my Christmas shopping. Eek!

We did plan to meet up with my sisters boyfriend and his friends, and we did for a little bit, but we hadn’t seen parts that they had seen and so ended up losing them when wondering off to look at things. Maybe next time we can get there at the same time…

By Silent Reaper and now on my wall

All in all it’s a good day out if you’re into that kind of thing. I know my sister went last year and hated it. She said she was creeped out by all the cosplay and things. But for any avid gamers, manga readers and nerdy tv watchers it is definitely a good event to go to!

Date A success. I wonder what Ash has planned for date B…

Till next time!


Pain-Balling

Ashley wanted to go Paintballing for his birthday, unfortunately at the time rent had just come out and so we couldn’t really afford it. However, we found a really good deal for and so decided we should do it afterwards. So we booked in for saturday 20th in Upminster with the International Paintball Group.

After we’d bought the tickets we found lots of reviews of people not seeming very impressed with the sales tactics of this group. I became a little bit dubious but even with a few points not properly explained (which is definitely the independent salesman’s fault and not IPG) it was still a good deal as far as we could tell.

They sent out an email confirming my booking and containing lots of useful hints and tips, forms, maps etc. They even texted me the day before to remind me of my booking.

Unfortunately one of our friends was going to meet us at Upminster but ended up stuck in Barking as some trains were cancelled. This meant we had to take a detour which made us pretty late.

Luckily they still let us in, we just missed the first round, but there were many more still to come.

We were given a full body suit, body armour, full helmets (which in my opinion looked like MasterChiefs helmet from Halo) and 100 balls each. We were then marked as Gold team with a band of gold tape stuck around our arms. Simple but effective.

We were taken to get our guns and went on to our first game.

The first game took place in a ‘churchyard’. There were wooden huts, ‘grave stones’ and a big church-like building in the centre. There was a suitcase in the church and the winners were the team that managed to grab the suitcase and take it to their side of the game zone.

Other game zones included an egyptian themed area with lots of pyramids and sand, 4 double decker buses, A 2 story castle, A Watchtower, a jet plane and more! It was very exciting. All game zones had a different objective (one was to protect one person on your team, there was a good old fashioned shoot out, and capture a flag etc..) which made it very varied and fun!

However, we kept noticing that we seemed to be getting shot from behind and we soon realised why.

There was an annoying bunch of lads on our team. They didn’t listen to the marshals, constantly talking over them, and were getting more and more rowdy as time went on. They then started shooting us whilst we were waiting for the next game to start. They actually shot me in the face and in the arm. The marshalls dealt with the situation really well. They had already brought in one of the more senior members of staff to marshall our games as well as the original marshall we had. When they started shooting us in between games the marshalls acted very quickly indeed. We lost out on playing that game but the group of lads were quickly expelled and all stormed off in a huff after being instructed to take off their gear and leave the premises.

All in all I was extremely impressed with how things were run, the game zones were awesome, the marshalls were fair and acted very quickly when there were problems. The gear was good, everything well maintained. There was a nice variety of scenarios which made you feel like you were in Call of Duty.

It really was an awesome day and very well run, and pretty cheap compared to other paintball days i’ve seen. We hope to go again soon. I would recommend it to anyone!

After we got home we were both very tired and decided that we really couldn’t bring our selves to cook. Instead we went and got a nice yummy chinese.

The night turned into quite a girly couple bonding night as we decided to also put on face masks and watch some Monk. It may be an old TV show but we both love it.

All in all it was a brilliant day and really nice night in, i’m just waiting for all those paint ball bruises to come up now…


Crafty Storage Find

Today was nice and sunny so myself and the boyfriend decided to go for a nice walk to a nearby park we’ve been wanting to explore.

It was definitely a park for joggers and dog walkers and had a gorgeous little stream running through it. We found lots of rope swings which all seemed to end with you swinging into the stream…I think that would seem a lot more appealing in the summer.

On the way to the park we noticed a nice looking wardrobe just left by the side of the road. The doors were resting behind it and it had a packet labelled ‘screws’ taped to the inside.

On the way back we passed it again and decided to ask if it was up for grabs. It was!

We somehow got it home and then I gave it a clean.

Ash agreed to let me use it for my sewing as all my things were crammed into a small cardboard box and plastic bags.

Sewing things and other stuff

I decided to use the top shelf for all my fabrics and the bottom for other crafty storage. The rail to hang all my hangable creations. I didn’t actually realise how much fabric I had until I started sorting it all out. I’ve told my boyfriend not to let me buy any more, unless there’s good reason, until i’ve used some of these up.

I finished it off by putting my old sewing machine on top as it’s so cute and pretty I felt it had to be on show. I also finally found a place for my amazing fish lights! My sister bought these for a birthday years ago and I hadn’t yet found a place to put them in this flat. I don’t think I will try to fit the doors back on as I actually quite like it without them…

Stocked up!

Finally I have an awesome storage area for all my items and fabric!

‘Till next time!

Fishies 🙂