Tuesday, 31 July 2012

My Soundtrack V.2

Kanye West - All Falls Down 

I've been loving the whole of Kanye West's first album 'The College Dropout' album recently. 
My new car has a CD player rather than a MP3 connection so I grabbed a couple of my older CDs to leave in the glove compartment and this was amoungst them. 

I'm enjoying the more soul-ish chilled out hip hop right now, especially for driving, I think it goes well with the sunny weather we've been having lately too! I also have his second album 'Late Registration' in the car and although I'm still a Kanye fan I defiantly prefer his earlier stuff. 
I can't believe the song is 7 years old, I swear I can remember it coming out and watching this video on MTV...
A more recent song of his that I was obsessed with a few months ago is - 
Tune! I had it as my ringtone and would play it over and over in the car, most often while driving at night.

Anyways, that's it for today, make sure to check back on Thursday for my latest photography shoot results! 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

It's My Life - 21st Birthday Celebrations...A Year Late!

If you know me or have read much of this blog, you'll know I'm not normal.
No, I defiantly have something wrong with me mentally because for my 21st birthday I didn't want to have a party or go out - instead I decided I wanted to jump out of an aeroplane.

Today is the day I can cross the number one thing off my bucket list !
Originally scheduled for the 28th of August 2011, I have now traveled to the airfield at Shotton Colliery, Peterlee 5 times and been disappointed 4 of those visits when high winds have cancelled my attempt.

Look! It's me! In the sky!
I paid a little extra to make sure I could remember the day forever and got a filmer but I wont have the video for a week or two yet.
Until then enjoy these photos of me in my ever so fashionable attire....
[From top left, clockwise] - Getting my embarrassing pre-jump interview. Walking to our fate. The two other tandem jumpers and I way up high! (I'm the blue parachute, lowest). And smiling that I've safely landed and headed to take my uncomfortable get up off!

When people have asked I have had no words to describe the jump. It was surreal, dreamlike. I felt super nervous before heading to the plane and hated the turns it made but surprisingly felt really calm as the actually jump approached. My instructor and all the solo divers that were in plane were excellent in keeping it fun and chilled out.
The actual fall from the plane and free fall was defiantly the best bit of it all. After just watching the movie 'Chronical' the night before I was just thinking of that and concentrating waving at the camera!
Then the parachute opened and sent my stomach doing loops making me feel really queasy but I was determined to at least try a few spins although it unfortunately wasn't for me. The views were astounding, I could see from Durham city to South Shields and enjoyed spotting all the cows and horses until we were low enough that I could wave to Jake on the ground. (Who was brilliant all day at keeping me calm and giving me hugs, thank you Jake.)

After a safe landing and another quick interview with the camera I got a big hug of my instructor who was absolutely awesome, so supportive and reassuring all the way through. Thank you very much Kev!

A big thank you also goes to my Mam and Dad for their constant love and support and without my Dad organizing and paying for the whole thing it would not of happened.

And thank you to all of you who sent good luck wishes and have been sweet enough to sponsor me too.
If anyone else would like to give a pound or two I appreciate every little penny. You can donate to my fund at my Just Giving page for Monkey World in Dorset.

Watch this space for the actual video of my dive in the coming weeks!

[Edit, here it is!]

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Opinions Of A Housewife – Being ‘Straight Edge’.

I really hate that saying, ‘straight edge’, but that’s what people know it as.

As an almost 22 year old girl a lot of people find it weird that I neither drink alcohol nor do I smoke or take drugs (either recreational or medical). I have been completely clean from any type of foreign substances for 9 months although before that it was almost 3 years.
I’ll start at the beginning. When I was 15/16 I worked a Saturday job where my parents would come and meet afterwards to spend the afternoon together. We’d go to the hotel bar up the road from the shop I worked at and I’d be allowed to have an alcho-pop or two. That moved on to me going out in town with my group of friends and having drinks at family bbq’s etc.  
At around age 18/19 when friends drifted apart, I lost one of my best friends to cancer :( and I had been away from home for college, came my first break in socializing and I didn’t feel the need to drink or go out. I worked a lot and spent the rest of my time at home watching UFC’s and stuff.
Then in July of last year personal circumstances changed. I moved away from my home town and got in touch with old friends as well as meeting new ones. I started to go out to the clubs again and going to house parties, socializing. At the time I guess I was having a lot of fun that I had missed out on the previous couple years but the whole lifestyle wasn’t for me really. Once Jake and I were safely moved into our little flat we decided together that we would give up drinking once and for all. 

I have always known my limits and never was the type to be falling about and being sick in public, its not fun or ladylike and I cant imagine how anyone could find it attractive to see a girl (or a guy for that matter) stumbling about with no control over their bodily functions.
I'm not playing completely innocent though, if I am being honest, yes I have thrown up due to alcohol but I can count the times on one hand and it is a contributing factor to my current lifestyle. If the body is rejecting you drinking such things then why poison yourself by continuing to do so?

In truth it doesn't effect our life whatsoever by cutting out these activities, on the contrary - it saves money and we are healthier for it. This applies especially of late as I am planning on heading back into training very soon! I'll let you know how that goes... Anyway, people may think I'm just a party pooper, but I assure you we still know how to have fun! :) As for not smoking - that's obvious, but for the not taking any kind of medical drugs (i.e Paracetamol) to begin with simply that I could not swallow them, now reading all the ingredients and addictive substances that are made into these tiny tablets I would rather just put up with a bit of pain than subject my body to unnecessary chemicals. Maybe my views on that will change in the future if I was to develop a serious health issue, but for now I like to keep my system clean. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Out and About - Whitehouse Farm.

I'm not a fan of people cancelling or changing plans, I like to be organized and know whats going on, but I suppose there was nothing that could be done when Jessie J came down with a viral infection and rescheduled her gig last Saturday night at Alnwick Castle. 

[Yeah, my second event this summer to be moved to a different date!]
Seeing as my Mam had train tickets booked she still came to visit and we had to think of something else to do. The lovely sunshine made our choice of destination alot easier. Jake, Mam and I took a drive up to Whitehouse farm, a 40 acre farm centre near Morpeth, Northumberland with a variety of cute critters to coo at and photograph. 

It being a late spring and summer this year meant lots of babies. Lambs, goats, piglets, rabbits, chicks and even a fawn. How cute are they?! I got way over excited when we spotted the bunnies huddled together in one of the large rabbit runs. 

The excitement didn't stop there when Jake got the chance to hold a bearded dragon, a python and a fat tailed gecko who actually shared his name :) I wish I'd had the guts to hold them too, I did touch them all though, they didn't feel like I expected. It was lots of fun and was a brilliant photo opportunity but we made our exit when they brought the tarantula out! (I'm petrified of spiders.)

From there we headed back outside and spent some time with the meercats. They are so funny! We watched them digging and foraging and standing guard, they even had a lay down in the sun and climbed up by the glass to be petted by us. I was a bit gutted that we missed out on seeing their talk and feed, that would of been quite cool and I love to learn a new fact or two!

We missed out on the falconry display too, boo! All the birds were sitting on their perches looking pretty and   posed for photos which we took advantage of. I think the talks and displays are awesome at animal parks and the like.

This was my second visit to Whitehouse farm, I visited years ago with family friends and it seems to of expanded its range of species. It's a brilliant day out too, not just for people with kids although if you do there are lots of play areas to keep them entertained and you can buy bags of animal food so they can feed the animals. Here are a few more random photos, enjoy :)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

What's Going On? - 2012 Olympic Games.

[Image Source]
(Very fittingly) At 20.12 GMT the Olympic Flame entered the last leg of its tour of the country when it landed in London yesterday (20/07/2012).

For those who don't own a tv or watch/read any news source, this year the Olympics are being held in the UK! Pretty cool eh? Lots of fun, lots of patriotism!

Yeah and did you know its costing an already struggling economy £9.3 BILLION!!

Okay, I don't want to be Miss party pooper but I think being chosen as the host country is more of a hindrance to us than anything else. There are the obvious benefits such as an increase in tourism boosting our revenue and new develops being built in urban areas, which will overall be lasting improvements. There has been alot of promotion to try and encourage children to take up more sporting activities too (also good if parents can tare them away from their Xbox's and Nintendo DS's) but the likes of McDonalds being amongst those to host such events is a little counter productive, no?

But. What about the thousands of athletes that need housed, the congestion of traffic and risks of terrorism?
Especially with the latest muck up by G4S not supplying enough security. What a shambles! Leading to yet again more cost, with the army having to be drafted in to save the day.
The 'Torch Relay Tour' is one of many things I'm sure we could of done without, a huge unnecessary cost of large groups of vehicles travelling the width and breadth of the country and an individual torch for each participant! Money is the most prominent downside of these games. Just weeks ago three children's heart surgery centres across the uk were closed. I'm sure that that 9.3 billion pounds could of done alot of good to the public sector.

Personally, I won't be watching the games. Mainly as the two sports I would actually be interested in watching, Judo and Wrestling, will more than likely not be shown on any of the main broadcasting.
I do hope the Brits do well though and that things are successful after they ended up spending over 3 times the planned budget.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Currently Obsessed V.3

Our DVD collection.

Its grown quite a bit lately due to my recent introduction to Cex. As long as the discs are in good working order I see nothing wrong with buying our films second hand, especially for £1.50-£3.00 a pop!
I'm also very proud of Jake's DIY skills and our recycled desk come dvd shelves! :)

My Disney section is very small for such a big fan as I have all the movies on VHS from my childhood. I'll keep building on that collection until I have every Disney dvd I can find!

[Oh, and apologies for the image, it was so hard to photograph and be able to see all the titles without getting glare. That and I am rubbish at using the graphics tablet!]

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Charity Spolight V.1

There are so many smaller, not as well known, charities and projects that do amazing work. I'd like to bring some of them to your attention :)

Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels!

Based in Berwick Upon Tweed, I chose Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels, more commonly known as B.A.R.K to be my first project to highlight as I myself have had a personal experience with them.

Like the animal fan I am, I was a common visitor to their website to adore all the beautiful animals awaiting rehoming. I wished that I was in a position to take in a dog and always looked out for the border collies but knew I could only provide a loving home to a tiny pet.
At the time I was the proud owner of 3 hamsters, having just lost one to very, very old age. This meant I had a spare space for a new friend. It wasn't common that B.A.R.K had anything smaller than rabbits but it was worth a look on the small animal section of the website.

There I spotted Dusty!
Her story was so sad and amazing, I made the phone call straight away and pending a visit and her upcoming photo shoot with the local paper..she was mine!

[To read her full story, which is worth it, please click here.]

Many people don't understand the big fuss over tiny pets, but to me my hamsters were just as important as a dog and I spoiled them rotten with attention and toys. This made Dusty's story hit me very hard.
The awesomely kind man didn't have to do what he did, but he did and thanks to the love, loyalty and care of him and the many others at the kennels this gorgeous little creature got a second chance at a small but fabulous life.

This is my small story of the project. There are so many more. They have been giving rescue to a range of unwanted, lost or abandoned animals for many years and survive through donations to their registered charity as wells as fundraising events they hold. Read more on the history of how the kennels came to be, here, it's a brilliant read!

Please make sure to visit their website, donate if you can or if you live near the area, maybe you can give a home to someone that needs one. :)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I Wish, List V.3

Benefit Cosmetics Skincare Range
Plain White Slip On Vans - So that I can get my talented Mr to use fabric pens and make my own custom pair of shoesies.
Lipsy All Over Heart Cardigan <3
Money To Get Tattooed!
Low Apothecary's Cabinet - Quite a bit out of our price range, but this is the kind of big chunky coffee table I want. The Asian inspiration is pretty too.
Apple Bottom Jeans
Flash Forward by Robert J Sawyer - If you read my 'Top 5 - TV Series' ' blog post you'll know why :)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Out and About - Lost World Adventure Golf.

Part two of last weekends goings on! Monday, Jake and I had the day to ourselves and with a car in the family again we thought we'd have a day out as it'd been a while since we'd gone somewhere properly together.
Obviously with not being very well off right now we didn't want to pay to much to go in somewhere and alot of the places we were interested in online, museums, stately homes and stuff were a little too pricey. So instead we just headed out for a good old drive along the coast through Whitley Bay and Tynemouth where we used to visit alot when we first got together.
There we spotted the 'Lost World Adventure Golf'!
Now first off were talking about mini golf, we love anything silly and fun. Then secondly a name like that and an awesome looking dinosaur infested garden meant we had to go in.
It was only £4.50 each for 18 holes which was all we really wanted to pay for our day out. It gave us just over an hours entertainment, laughing at my poor golfing (I used to be good when I was younger, I swear) and dodging the sprayings from the Dinos at certain holes, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall I give the park top marks, the only thing that could of made it better is if we had actually had some summer weather instead of the fine rain that soaks you through... :P

Click the photos to see them bigger! We captured some funny moments :D

Afterwards, on the drive home, we stopped off in Whitley Bay to spends our last few pennies at the Amusements. Although I worked in an Arcade for 2 and a bit seasons I'm not great with the big money machines in the over 21 section so we stuck to the 2p pushers! Haha, we did win a five pound note though :) Successful day, lots of fun and came home with some money to put on the electric meter, yey!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Out and About - Kirkey Hall Zoological Gardens

I've had a busy weekend! Thanks to my Nana first off for giving me my freedom back by signing over my late Granda's car over to me. Overwhelmed by her generosity, love her lots :)
I'm going to write about the last couple of days in two posts, so here is part one!

After an eventful train journey to Berwick to pick up my new car, I drove back down home with my parents who had previously planned to visit this weekend. Sunday the 8th was originally meant to be the Cancer Research 'Race for Life' in Newcastle that Mam and I were signed up for, but due to certain weather issues (see this post) it has been postponed.
Therefore, we had a free day and decided to head down to Kirkley Hall, as last year they opened a new zoological garden and I was dying to take a trip to see.

I had a fabulous time, so many beautiful different species that I got to take lots of photos of and it thankfully stayed dry!
Here are just a few of the hundreds I snapped! (Remember to click to view them larger.)

I want to enter their monthly photographic competition but haven't a clue which 3 to send in... what do you think?

Anyways, I highly recommend Kirkley Hall Zoo for any other animal/photography fans and there are lots of goings on for anyone with kids. I'll defiantly be going back with Jake at some point :)

Saturday, 7 July 2012

My Top 5 – Television Series'

Probably the most well know of my choices and defiantly always number 1 on my list, Lost is not only an epic programme but now a huge cult classic. I didn’t watch the first series when it originally aired over here, in fact I had no interest when I saw advertisements on TV and in magazines. It wasn’t until a couple months before the final series was due to air that I caved into peer pressure and was sucked into the mind warp!  Straight away my favorite characters were Charlie Pace (as I was already a fan of the actor Dominic Monaghan from my love of Lord Of The Rings), Shannon (I just identified with her completely - especially our first view of her screaming outside the wreck) and Hurley (no explanation needed!).  I could talk about Lost all day, but rather than that if you haven’t watched the full 6 series I urge you to. So many people I speak to have seen only one or two series and stray away. Stick with it! The journey it takes you on is well worth it…

Flashforward is the most recent addition to our collection.  It came to our attention while I made Jake watch Lost for his first time and it came up on the commercials at the start of the DVD. The main plot is simply that on October 6th 2010 at the same moment around  the world , everyone blacked out for 2minutes and 17 seconds. During that time most people had a ‘Flashforward’ discovered to be a premonition of their own lives around 6 months later on April 29th 2011.  The 22 existing episodes show the period building up to ‘D-day’ and the FBI’s investigation into what actually caused this global disaster. 
Although there are no actual connections with Lost either via writers or producers and directors there and many similarities in the story lines as well as actors cast. (After researching online I have found this brilliant article laying out the similarities)  My heart defiantly skipped a beat when I read that It is based on the 1999 novel Flashforward by Canadian science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer. Sawyer?! Too much of a coincidence link to Lost!
Anyways, all I can say is: I have no idea why the ratings dropped and I wish it hadn’t been axed after only 2 series.

Jake and I are still watching the second series of this which is currently showing on channel 5 in the UK. I'm not a big fan of gore and will sit with my head behind a pillow if there are 'yucky' scenes in a movie - but I love zombies! It is so much more than just a zombie show though and for just a TV show the CGI and special effects are on par with the big Hollywood flicks. Cant wait for series 3! 

As you are aware that I’m a fan of Lord Of The Rings and obviously Disney, you’ll of gathered I adore all things fantastical. With the medieval type setting and constantly surprising turns to the story line Game of Thrones was right up my street from the get go. I watched the first episode premier over here last year and were now done with season 2 but I have banned myself from watching that until I complete the reading of book one in the 'A Song Of Ice and Fire' series. With a tag line like 'In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.' how can't you be interested?! 

If you can count, you'll of noticed there are only 4 picks. But alas I have high viewing standards and I'm waiting for another EPIC show to come to me. Be sure to recommend some and let me know your top 5 in the comments! 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Opinions of a Housewife - Being Unemployed

I receive a lot of criticism for my views in general but especially those regarding women and careers.  So before I get into those opinions, I'll start this off with the statement that I will work
I have done since the age of 15, where I was offered a job with an Interior Designer after I had completed a period of work experience arranged by the high school. I highly enjoyed this position, had many responsibilities and gained many skills. I then progressed onto being studio and venue photographer with Bourne Leisure which was brilliant experience for the career I wished to achieve. 
Here came my first break in employment at the age of 17 which was purely so I could attend college full time to study for a National Diploma in photography. After returning to my home town I worked another 3 jobs, as well as taking the steps to start up my own photographic business, that took me from age 18 to the present and my current break in employment.

I did leave my previous job. I moved from the area due to circumstances that I may address in a future post but that job was seasonal and would of ended in the same outcome. I now live in a lovely but modest little flat with my partner who was not from this area either hence his status being currently unemployed too. 
Now, too often I hear the stereotype that people on benefits are lazy and better off than people working! Yes, we are living off housing benefit and job seekers allowance but no, we are defiantly not a lot better off than if we were working (if this were true, then why do we struggle to even afford enough food and gas/electric each month?!), nor are we lazy...we are trying to find work, both of us apply for countless jobs a month and have attended courses etc to help us into employment, however people seem not to realize that for every job vacancy there are on average 23 people applying. 
I cannot see why people think we are not entitled to any government help when we have both contributed to the country and taxes since we were teens.

Everyone that is claiming job seekers allowance is not the same. We are not all addicted to drugs or alcohol. We are not all teen parents or school drop outs. We don't spend all day in bed and all evening in a pub. Neither of us drink, therefore aren’t spending unnecessary money going on nights out. We are just people, normal people who have worked all their lives, have skills and qualifications but unfortunately have been caught in the economic struggle the world is in right now. 
I have seen middle aged men and women in the Job Centre who have been made redundant after years in a steady job, is that their fault? Should they have to give up the home they have been paying for for years or should they be given a little help until they’re given their next shot at employment?

I’m not saying that there aren’t some people that are scamming the system. Claiming certain benefits when they aren’t entitled etc, but they are not the majority, people should not be so quick to judge.
There are some unbelievable cases of people claiming hundreds of thousands in benefits a year. These aren't people like us though. They claim everything from job seekers, housing benefit, tax credits and child benefits. Most have no intention of working and no motivation to. These are the people who need to be cracked down on and not rewarded for each time they reproduce. 

Moving onto the opinions that I mentioned at the beginning of this post - those of my apparent 'old fashioned' self. Jake shares my opinions that we would be happy for him to work a full time job and I would stay at home to take care of the house - if financially it was viable. In no way am I saying that I don’t want to work, but if we could run the home on that one wage comfortably I see no reason that means I couldn’t live as a proper housewife and have his dinner on the table every night for him returning from work. Why, if we could afford to live with Jakes wage, should I take a job that another family needs? In reality, when the time comes that Jake does start in full time work I plan on working harder to push my photography services. Not only is it something I enjoy but being self-employed would mean working hours around my own and customer’s needs. 

Anyways, right now I volunteer 2 days a week at a charity mini bus firm which gets me out the house, I really suggest it to anyone sick of the same four walls. Its great to be contributing to the community somehow. 

I wish those fellow job seekers the best of luck in finding your new job and hope that it is not much longer until Jake or I have some luck! It'd be nice to not have to worry about money, even though were not alone in that situation (and I’m very lucky to have parents I love very much, that can help out when times are tough…even if I hate doing so). 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Out and About - Skating and Snapshots

Usually the weekend is when my love goes out for a skate, but Sunday he was all alone so I accompanied him on a little walk and tried my hand at taking some photos for him for the first time.

I haven't a clue about different tricks and stuff so found it hard when to take the photos. They aren't the best, but it was my first attempt...here they are.

I also had another go at pushing along, don't laugh! 

Make sure to check out Jake and his friends Skate Blog!

Oh and new posts are on Saturdays and TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS now instead of Wednesday. :)