Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Please may I be excused?

The next few days are full

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And really? All I want to do is sit and day dream.

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I think I’d be quite good at it. If only I had more practise.

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Photos we heart it.

I’ll probably come and visit you, if I get time, but I won’t talk much. Would that be ok?

:)x

Monday, 28 March 2011

Book Review No. 12 :)

 

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So. I can not lie to you. Since we are friends and all. This is a book I read a while ago, as I just haven't had chance to read my current one much this week. I didn’t want to rush it and read it just for readings sake, especially as it is by a fellow blogger (who I will tell you all about when I finish, Promise!)

So please don’t judge me. And let me tell you about this book anyway.

Aerin Renning is a scarred fugitive, Dane Madousin is a rebellious son of privilege. On the surface, they have nothingi n common.  But the two most competitive freshmen at Academy 7 share an undiscovered bond.  Both harbour a dangerous secret that threatens their own destruction.  And while their safety depends upon their staying apart, the two are inexplicably drawn to each other.  Even as unknown forces conspire to keep them apart,their competition turns to friendship, and their friendship to romance.  Now not only their lives, but their hearts are at stake.  To survive, the two must unite all their knowledge skills, and gifts to uncover a secret bigger than either of them could have imagined.  A secret as big as the entire universe….

This is a young Adult novel, given to me by my niece. 

I had never heard of it, or the author, before getting hold of the book, and at first glance I thought it was going to be a teenage high school set book.. it’s actually science fiction with romance thrown in.

First 5 sentences.. Arein tried to ignore the blooodstain on the control panel of the Fugitive.  Her fathers ship. And his blood.  She thrust the image away, cramming it into the small chest at the back of her mind, then slamming shut the lid. Enough memories.

Where I got my hands on it.. This came in a bag full of books from my niece. (she knows the way to her Auntie’s heart)

The cover..  Teen romance….awwwwww :)

Made me want to…  Read more young adult, so easy, such escapism ahhh

Who’s the lucky duck that’s getting it next?.. Going back in the bag…think little niecey wants them back! Must take after me and has ‘keepers’ on her shelves!

I would definitely recommend this book for a bit of light entertainment. In fact, I'm going back to the bag it came in to see if there is any more by this author!

The only other science fiction book I’ve read was ‘The Host’ by Stephanie Meyer, and I really enjoyed that too..I should really go to that section in the book shops more often.

Oh I have to tell you, the photos in the last post weren't self portraits, that's the niece in question :) But as you can see, she gets her looks from her Auntie ;)

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Photography Ffffffffff errrr Saturday?

 

I know I know. I failed.  And (remember when your English teacher told you never to start a sentence with ‘and’? well I’m 38 years old now so I will if I want to!) not just in the photography front either. I’m behind on Laundry, letter witting, reading..(goodness knows if I’ll have a book review for this week!), Easter rota for work needs doing (eeeeeek) freezer is in the midst of defrosting as i could no longer shut the door, seeds to plant in their containers as it’s still too cold to plant them out on the allotment… car boot crap..umm I mean treasures.. to look out for tomorrow..,It’s 3.30pm now..I wonder how much of that list I can get done today, my only day off this week?!

Well to begin:

Photography class is coming to an end now, the last lesson we spoke mostly about equipment. (yike!) Expensive! I am however going to buy a wireless remote for my camera when I use the tripod and I’ve been told by Mr Tutor that these come relatively cheaply on ebay for about 12.00.

We did also talk about the Bulb setting.

You will find Bulb right at the very end of your shutter speed setting… (You need to be in M) so wind the dial all the way one way, and if it dosent come up…just go the other way and there it will be.

When you have your camera on Bulb, this means you control the opening and closing of the shutter. Press the button as if to take a picture..and the shutter opens…keep your finger pressed down for as long as you want….then release, and the shutter closes.

This is how people take pictures of Lightening and Fireworks.

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While you are waiting for some lightening to strike..press to open the shutter…then as soon as you see the lightening, release, and the shutter will close. Otherwise, if you try and take a picture normally when you see lightening, you won’t be quick enough.

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For fireworks..you can press to open the shutter as soon as the firework goes up…wait for it to ‘pop’ and then close the shutter, so you will have ‘recorded’ the trail of the firework. Voila! You should have a firework pic!

Pics from Google Images

So now you can get out there in the storm/at the firework display haha.

This weeks homework is to take a portrait photo, it can be inside or outside, head shot or full, black and white or colour. I’m thinking of using one of these..

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What do we think? Vote? I just don’t know if I have time to take any more!

Hope your weekend is fab! I’m off to tick more things off my to do list!

:)x

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spam? Anyone?

 

Dear Mr/Mrs? Yak.

Well I was surprised to see ‘Beloved’ in the subject box of my email, I was thinking that Mr D had taken it upon himself to send me a love note…a la our teenage years, but no, it wasn’t from him, but you.

I must say I’ve never been in contact from anyone in Sudan, and we all know I love communication so this is really quite exciting for me.

I’m so flattered that my Chamber of Commerce as you say, singled me out as a trustworthy person for you to contact. I mean I know how special I am, but it’s nice to have it recognised by others..no? And yes, you are so right, our relationship could grow into something special.

I’m so sorry to hear your story. Your father..the former Minister for SPLA Affairs and Special Adviser to President Salva Kiir of South Sudan for Decentralization was obviously a very important man, although, I admit, I have no clue what any of that means. Terrible that he was killed, and now you say they are after you?  I mean, you see these things on the TV but you just don’t expect to meat someone that is actually living through it! The figure of money you mentioned 5.6 million dollars!  Well that certainly would be worth fleeing the country with wouldn’t it!

And how special am I that you chose ME out of all the people in the United Kingdom, to help you in your escape.

So just to make sure I understand, I need to help you come over and live in the UK as my Special Friend? Help you find a university place, and find a business for you to invest your money in?

And I would receive, for my trouble 10% of  the aforementioned 5.6 million? Well seems like a great plan to me.

If i were the complete plank that you seem to think I am.

Just so you know. I’m not. A complete plank.

So the answer would be no.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

:)x

 

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I’ve never watched a James Dean film. I think it’s time to correct this.  Anyone recommend one?

Not today though. Today I’m taking my sis supermarket shopping before working the afternoon. I drive, she buys lunch. That’s the deal.

:)x

Monday, 21 March 2011

Film Night

 

imagesCAA9BP4W Mr D and I braved the local cinema last week and saw this film

This is based on a novel by Graham Greene which was published in 1938.. A film was made in 1947, which kept the story to the original period of the 1030’s. So this remake has been updated to the 1960’s.

I knew nothing about this film until Mr D suggested we go see it. Mr D was obviously attracted to the period. 1960’s Brighton. Mods and Rockers and all things Mob related.

I’ve never read the novel, or seen the original movie so I can’t compare, but I’ve read a couple of reviews since, and they weren’t that favourable. I, on the other hand, going in blind, as it were..really enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for anything of that period.

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Sam Riley plays Pinkie, who murders a rival, Fred, after which he ruthlessly pursues a potential witness, a young waitress called Rose (Andrea Riseborough) in a bid to shut her up. Pinkie offers up a sham of a romantic relationship, which she clings to as he propels her towards her doom. Only the nosey, indefatigable Ida (Helen Mirren), a streetwise tea-shop owner who was once close to Fred, offers her any hope of salvation.

Mr D & I are making more of an effort lately to go and see films, and I’m enjoying it!

I didn’t get to my allotment today as the weather had turned by the time I finished work :( But I DID buy some wild flower seed packets to put in :):) Maybe tomorrow?!

BTW who is going to admit to seeing the Duran Duran programme last night on ITV? I got the last half, (even sacrificed Country House Rescue) I’m about to take the laptop in the bathroom and watch the first half while I have a bath. OOOOOOO Duran Duran. I was such a fan. And they still have it.

Yes they do.

:)x

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Book Review No. 11 :)

This week I’ve been reading a book which is totally different to anything I’ve read in a while..

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Dee Williams' latest saga, both warm and nostalgic, will transport you back to the lost era of Swingtime. It's late 1935 and Sue Carver is living happily with her parents in Rotherhithe, working in the office of a local car dealer. She constantly has to resist the advances of her boss, the wealthy Fred Hunt, and her best friend Jane warns her to be careful. Fred's not the only one to have taken a liking to Sue: Jane's brother Ron also shows his admiration for her. But Sue's main love is dancing. She and Jane are always to be found at the local dance hall and when one memorable night the band brings in a new singer, Cy Noble, Sue can't help falling for him. Cy fails to tell her he is married, taking advantage of her naivety, and they spend a wild night together. But reality hits hard after the dance. Cy moves on and Sue is devastated to find out she is pregnant. Her parents are horrified when they find out, and just when she thinks things couldn't be worse, tragedy strikes. Will Sue ever find the love and happiness she craves?

First 5 sentences.. Sue Reed walked slowly through Rotherhithe New Road and waited at the bus stop, knowing that her best friend Jane Brent, would be getting off the next bus.  They lived next door to each other, so every evening when they finished work they would walk home together discussing what they had done and who they had seen at work.  A slight breeze made Sue pull her cardigan tighter round her and she touched her navy beret, hoping that it would stay in place on her nondescript dark hair, which she now wore in a bob.  Her parents had been upset when they saw what she’d done to her long and naturally curly locks, but she was fed up with looking like a school girl.   It was late September and summer was almost over, soon it would be autumn and with that came the dark nights.

Where I got my hands on it..  This is another charity shop book, but this one was a total bargain at 40pence! I find that even charity shops are putting their book prices up and it really varies the cost of them. I am pleased that their is one shop in town that gives all it’s profits to local people who need help..and their prices are the cheapest!

The cover..  Totally takes you to the 30’s. The model looks like Claire Danes..(love her!)

Made me want to…  Go swing dancing! Love the clothes..the atmosphere…not so keen on the outside lavs..and the pay haha

Who’s the lucky duck that’s getting it next?.. As you may have gathered by now, I give most of my books away to various friends/relatives who I think may like them. This one is going in the bag for my Granny, I’m going up to Yorkshire to visit her soon and she always likes a bag of books from me.

As I mentioned above, this is different to anything I’ve read in a while.  I liked it.  It’s set in a time when ‘times were hard’ but you can’t help feeling people were a lot happier then, it wasn’t all about keeping up with the neighbours, as much as just wanting food on the table and a cup of hot cocoa round the fire at night with the family.  I would definitely read this author again, even though, as with a lot of books of this genre, I did find it quite predictable, but in a nice, comfortable, escapism kind of way.

We’ve had a very sunny weekend, I’ve been working…(can’t wait till my staff are trained and I can escape!) but I have managed to do a bit of reading up for my allotment..here’s what I’m dreaming of..

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Thinking of growing some wild flowers :)

Tonight is my usual Sunday night viewing that is Country File, The Antiques Road Show, and I see that Country House Rescue is back on! Yippee for me!

Hope the week is Sunny for everyone!

:)x

Friday, 18 March 2011

Photographic Friday

I have learnt soooo much from this course, there is only a couple of weeks left, and to be honest I think it’s going to be a lot of accessory talk from now on….(if he tells us we need a tripod,  bigger lenses and a flashgun thingy one more time I’ll be expecting him to hand out order forms for his shop…haha)

Anyhoooo what did we learn this week?

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Well Mr Tutor told us all about these Long Exposure shots to get the streaky lights effect..

Basically, this requires A Tripod.. (surprise) so that you can set your shutter speed to the longest exposure and the camera will be held steadily in place while it it records the lights going past…hence the streaky light effect. This can also be used for writing your name in sparklers in front of the camera..or the year as I found this pic on We Heart It…obv you would do 2011! haha

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If you take a pic of the London eye at night using this method it looks like a Catherine Wheel..

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You can also produce Ghost like images, by running in front of the camera whilst the shutter is open..

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I can’t wait for some nicer weather so Mr D & I can go and play on the prom with my tripod at night :)

All photos…We Heart It.

By the way… Trampolining was soooo much Fun!! I was the only one in the group that had never been on one before…but I don’t think I made a total fool of myself.. managing to do some sit downs and turn around thingy's whilst staying on the trampoline :)

It is good exercise too, as my stomach muscles are telling me today!

Tonight we are going out with friends to listen to a local band.

Hope the weekend is fabulous for everyone :)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Guess where I’ll be tonight?

 

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Trampolining!

Stop Laughing. Now Please.

You  can bet that I’m not going to look any kind of graceful. I’ve never done it before. Not even in school.

Any advice would be good.

:)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

:) x

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Hope your week is  going fabulously :)

And you’re eating lots of scones, whilst thinking of me, of course.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Best Scones Ever

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(This pic has nothing to do with scones..just thought you might like to see my sparkly party jacket I wore for Mr D’s 40th :)

Want to make the best scones ever?

Well because I love you (and because most of you don’t live anywhere near) I’m going to divulge my scone recipe.  Now this is a true testament to my love for you. Because it’s a bit of a trade secret you know.

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  Ingredients needed:

500g Plain Flour

25g Baking Powder

Pinch Salt

75g Icing Sugar

125g Chilled unsalted Butter  (STRAIGHT FROM FRIDGE) cut into small cubes

2 eggs, beaten

180ML Milk

100g Sultanas (IF MAKING FRUIT SCONES)

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt & icing sugar together.

add the butter, eggs and milk & mix together  until the mixture starts to form a dough. (use a mixer if you have one)

At this point, add the sultanas .

Continue to mix until the dough is totally combined.If it too wet/dry add more flour/milk accordingly.

Remove from mixer & knead a little with your hands on a floured surface until the dough ids elastic & smooth.

Roll out the dough to about 1 inch thick & cut out the scones, re knead the leftover dough and repeat until all the dough is used.

Place the scones on a greased baking tray, brush the tops with a little milk & bake at 180 c for approx 20mins. (depending how big they are).

To test that they are done insert a sharp knife into the middle through the side. If the knife comes out clean they are done. If not leave them for a few more minutes.

Tips: Preheat the oven.  Cut the butter into cubes cold straight from the fridge.

Don’t over knead the dough.

If you don’t like fruit scones, add grated cheese instead of sultana’s, omitting the icing sugar.

Scones are best served straight from the oven or warmed in the microwave for a few seconds. Add Clotted cream and jam yum!

Scones can be frozen and defrosted as required! 

Enjoy!

PS. While you are stuffing your face with scones, I keep forgetting to tell you that Camilla gave me a blog award. I should tell you facts about myself, but if you go here you can see what I wrote when I got the award a little while ago from Jihee.  Now you should all know by now that Jihee is a friend of mine…all be it virtual… But you should definitely go check out Camilla’s Blog too. A woman's right to shoes is fantastic for anyone who likes London, or indeed just wants to read a blog that is informative and real.

 

 

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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Are we at No 10 already?!

Yes it seems I’ve just finished my 10th book of 2011 :) Go Me!!


This is the best yet. It’s a true story.


Katie Piper. Beautiful.


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'I heard a horrible screaming sound, like an animal being slaughtered ... then I realised it was me.'When Katie Piper was 24, her life was near perfect. Young and beautiful, she was well on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a model.But then she met Daniel Lynch on Facebook and her world quickly turned into a nightmare ...After being held captive and brutally raped by her new boyfriend, Katie was subjected to a vicious acid attack. Within seconds, this bright and bubbly girl could feel her looks and the life she loved melting away.Since then Katie has gone on to inspire millions with her brave determination, but the journey hasn't been easy.Beautiful is the moving true story of how one young woman had her mind, body and spirit cruelly snatched from her and how she inspired millions with her fight to get them back.


Born in Hampshire in 1983, Katie Piper refuses to let anything stand in her way. Since being the victim of an acid attack she has been more courageous than ever. Her Cutting Edge documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face won her a BAFTA nomination and was shown in 15 different countries around the world. In December 2009, she was selected to present Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message. In Spring 2011, Katie will also appear her a new Channel 4 show Katie: My Beautiful Friends.


First 5 sentences.. It was just a normal mirror, a round sheet of glass encased in a white plastic frame, but as I reached for it, my hand trembled. ‘Take your time Katie’ my psychologist Lisa said gently. ‘Look at your chest first, then work your way up slowly, inch by inch’ But I didn’t do things by halves – I never had, and a few purple blotched on my cheeks weren’t going to change that. I mean, how different could my face be? It might be red and scarred a bit, but it would still look like me, right?


Where I got my hands on it.. I bought this book new this week as I had seen the documentary on TV last year & really wanted to read it.


The cover.. The photo of Katie on the cover is just Beautiful.


Made me want to… This book really makes you grateful for what you have, all the times we moan about our day, if the hubbie hasn’t done the dishes, we have a spot on our nose, or we just can’t find that perfect outfit for our night out. All I can say is, read it. ( oh yeah..it also made me want to do bad things to horrible men that throw cups of acid into young girls faces…but that’s a whole other post..)


Who’s the lucky duck that’s getting it next?.. I’m going to give this to my sis (she doesn't know it yet!)



I read this book in a day. I just couldn’t tear myself away. I knew about Katie’s story from the press & I had seen the documentary, but the book goes into so much more detail about her as a person and the attack, then her recovery.


It is, I think the most inspirational story I have ever read. I don’t mind telling you, that Katie before the attack seemed like somebody I would have nothing whatsoever in common with. A ‘Lad’s Mag’ Model, out clubbing nearly every night, looking for her 5 minutes of fame. Katie now, however just seems like someone I would totally want to be friends with.


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Katie now runs her own charity. The Katie Piper Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of burns victims and other disfigurement injuries. The charity also campaigns for the specialist treatment Katie received to become widely available in the UK, The Katie Piper Foundation. Go there and visit.


Hope the weekend was good :) Mine was lost in a blur of work. It seems the people think it’s time to visit the sea side :)


:) x

Friday, 11 March 2011

Photographic Friday (& look out…she’s got a Tripod!)

There is a recurring theme going on in camera class…and it’s all to do with the dreaded ‘Camera Shake’ ..this…apparently…is a photographers sworn enemy..when the shutter speed goes so low (in low light settings..) that your wee hand can’t hold it still for long enough.. or when snapping moving things….

Mr tutor keeps saying that a tripod is pretty much a must have..

007So lucky for me..I’ve been GIVEN a tripod. Yeah I know lucky for me….maybe not so lucky for you as this could mean me in front of the camera thanks to the self timer mode…haha   (btw I was so ashamed at the state of my bookshelf there on the left that I cropped it out of the photo, and yes that is a wicker basket on the floor with more books in) But as we’re friends we can just pretend that my house is a bit less cluttered. Thanks.

This week we looked at our homework pics and spoke about them..this I think will be a recurring thing at the beginning of each class and I found it really helpful as Mr Tutor basically said how we could improve them. So we just had to take a picture in either A or S mode. Here’s mine..

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Comments from Tutor were…bit busy in the background..haha he would have liked the background a bit more blurred out. (but I like the treeeeeees Mr Tutor!!)

We did a bit more on A and F modes..  then moved on to…M Mode…YIKES!!

In M Mode you are in FULL control haha so you control the Aperture AND shutter speed yikeys. When you go to the info screen on M mode, you do the shutter speed as usual with the little dial..then to change the Aperture you have to find a little button on the camera that needs holding down & you turn the dial at the same time. On my camera the button has a little square with a + and – symbol on it.

Now I’m not gonna lie to you I got a bit confused about fiddling with both of them, we did a whole bit about taking photos inside without the flash in M Mode, select F8..then change the aperture until that little dotted line (the one underneath the shutter and aperture readings.).is at 0. I need to get the A and S Mode sorted before I go there me thinks..It’s just a question of fiddling..

Other tips I learnt..

When taking a picture inside with flash..change the White Balance to the flash symbol. This makes the flash warmer. I was shocked at the difference this made! You just need to remember to change it back though…!

Put your camera to Drive mode. This is the lots of little squares symbol. This means when holding down the photo taking button (for want of a technical term) the camera keeps taking pictures until you lift your finger off again. This is great for moving objects, wildlife, cars, children..change the focal point to AFc continuous auto focus, then your camera will track the moving object and as you have it in drive mode you will get some decent pictures. When you think about it, as soon as you push the button to take a photo this moves the camera a little, making the dreaded ‘camera shake’ so if you can just keep you finger held down and take several pics…it’s much better! Mr Tutor says that the camera will get good focus at about photo 3 or 4 when you do this.. he is primarily a wildlife photographer and he uses his camera in drive mode all the time. You can still take a single shot, just by pressing once as normal..

NEVER point your lenses at the full sun. You will kill it.  And then you will cry. If you can’t look at the sun with your eyes, then you can’t point your camera at it.  (I guess there are filters etc..come back in ‘accessory week’!

This weeks homework is to take a photo of an animal, trying to get it sharp. I have today taken a gazillian photos of ducks. And I can’t quite decide if I will use any, or if my plan of chips on the prom is going to have to happen..

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Not really happy yet. I think I messed around with the settings so much I ended up confusing myself haha!!

 

I’ve had a lovely day off today, in preparation for a full on working weekend :(

I’ve been digging again. Wanna see?? Ok then..

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No I didn’t dig all that but you can just make out the darker patch at the top where I am digging and digging to get rid of all the weedy bits in the soil..

Hope you all have a fun weekend!

x