Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Collective Haul // October - December 2015

Since completing my Disney Classics DVD collection I decided to start working on the Wonderful World of Reading books from the 70s & 80s.
December 30th can only mean one thing; the end of the 4th quarter of 2015 and therefore my final haul of the year. If you were here for the first of these posts this year you'll of read my explanation as to why I do them this way. This post might not be the best one to prove my point of not buying/acquiring enough to warrant more than quarterly hauls but of course it includes my London trip purchases (of which I saved up all year for as well as paying off my part of the trip) and Christmas gifts! 

My London goodies! I don't like calling it my 'London Trip' because I strongly dislike London and we didn't go to see London, it just so happens that the things we wanted to do were down there. However, saying that it's just too much of a mouth full to say my 'Lion King and Warner Brothers Studio trip' haha so London Trip it is.
We got there around 2pm and was at the Lion King Musical at 7.30 that night for Mam's birthday! On the way from (hell) the tube to the Lyceum Theatre I spied the (tiny) Disney Store at Covent Garden and had to grab this Simba, totally not thinking that they'd have them at the Theatre too.
When we got there I bought the beautiful hardback coffee table book and my Mam got me a magnet :)

The next day we were at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, finally...after like years of waiting. I have around 5/6 posts just from the tour coming up but with the spending money I'd saved I wanted to treat myself in the store. Originally I just wanted to get things that you couldn't get elsewhere but there wasn't as much as I thought there would have been. The books and book mark were my first must haves, along with the charm for my Pandora and the coins I decided at the last minute while in the queue to check out.
Mam got me the necklace and magnet and as for the bow and Hedwig, they were last minute purchases - along with a Hufflepuff mug for Jake despite his Slytherin-ness - on our last day while we waited at Kings Cross for our train home!

Oh I'd forgotten to photograph these at the time with the other bundles, as they were in use, but I like a good souvenir cup so I have one from each of our 'activities' aswell. 

As for Christmas all three of us got way more than was needed or expected - maybe minus Baker as I could watch him open things all day and he expected everything to be his haha!
I'll not bother listing each and every thing as you can see it all above but huge thank yous to my Mam and Dad as always, Claire for her ever thoughtful gifts, and Kerri and Charlene for thinking of me <3
Not pictured as we got them a while before Christmas, Jake also got a new headset for the Xbox One from my Dad as his 2nd one had broken and I got a new winter coat, two pairs of Jeans and a cardigan, as well as these shoes

That's all folks (feels silly saying 'that's all' looking at the vast amount of things I've been so lucky to have gotten over the past 3 months)! See you in March with the next quarterly haul. If you'd like to check out the other three of this years hauls you can check them out here - 

Monday, 28 December 2015

The 30 Disney Q's (in 5 minutes) Tag!!

Soo this was originally bookmarked as a video idea to film but as I'm no longer filming I decided I still wanted to answer the questions and that it'd convert into a written post no bother.
Although I cannot prove how long it took me to originally answer these questions I will say I didn't do it in under 5 minutes as my memory is rubbish and I go 'umm' a lot, but it wasn't much longer haha. 
It was all a bit of fun for me anyways to actually try and be fully decisive for a change so here we go, 30 Disney questions in (just over*) 5 minutes.

1.) Favorite Character
Mickey (and Minnie!)

2.) Favorite Princess
Snow White

3.) Favorite Heroine
Merida - also technically a Princess, I know! But she's from my neck of the woods, a fellow red head and her whole story and movie is just fab.

4.) Favorite Prince
Eric as he was the only Prince who had a dog...I think.

5.) Favorite Hero
Most recently I'd have to say Bing Bong, from Inside out, bless him.

6.) Favorite Animal

7.) Favorite Sidekick

8.) Favorite Villain
Uh, none! They're all baddies! For the sake of this I'll say the Queen of Hearts though, she's sweet if you stay on her right side.

9.) Favorite Original Character (Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, etc)
Donald. He is pretty underrated if you ask me. I really like Oswald too.

10.) Favorite Love Song
I'm not a big one for the lovey dovey songs so I'll go for 'Can you feel the love tonight?' from the Lion King!

11.) Favorite Song
Oh gosh! I probably say a different song every time for this as there are so many but right at this moment I'll say When You Wish Upon A Star.

12.) Favorite Villain Song
'Friends on the other side'. So much soul in that whole movie!

13.) Least Favorite Song
'Let it Go' , please, can we just let it go for real now?

14.) Favorite Kiss
Lady and the Tramp <3

15.) The First Movie You Saw
I was far to young to remember so I've no idea but I think it was The Little Mermaid.

16.) Favorite Classic
Alice in Wonderland

17.) Song that always gets stuck in your head
Prince Ali! haha I sing it to Baker and Jake and Jake get's so annoyed by it :P

18.) Favorite Pixar Film
Toy Story as it reminds me of when I was little and had to make sure all my toys and teddies had a 'friend' so they didn't get lonely.

19.) Least Favorite Pixar Film

20.) Favorite Sequel
The Rescuers Down Under. Or if we are including live action movies too, National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

21.) Overrated Movie
Frozen!! Anyone that doesn't agree obviously hasn't seen many Disney films.

22.) Underrated Movie

23.) Movie That Makes You Laugh
All of them, but in particular Cool Runnings, College Road Trip and A Bugs Life.

24.) Movie That Makes You Cry
All of them, but in particular anything where an animal dies and Saving Mr Banks.

25.) The Saddest Scene From Your Favorite Movie
This one -

26.) Saddest Death
Bing Bong! Bambi's mother. Mufasa. Can't choose.

27.) Favorite Quote
'In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun'

28.) Favorite Theme Park
There is only the one for me, Disneyland Paris.

29.) Favorite Theme Attraction
Mark twain river boat, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Buzz Lightyear's Laser Blast, Ratatouille. One from each land (and the WDS park) for you 'cause ain't no body got time to choose just one!

30.) Favorite Theme Park Show
I have special memories from Main Street Electrical Parade as a child, though that closed in 2003 or something at DLP. Stars in cars also gives me good memories and I feel is pretty underrated. Dreams also has to have a mention as I love the all round use of projections, pyrotechnics, fireworks etc through it.

*I only timed from start to finish the initial choosing and typing of the answers. Editing of spelling, layout and images not included.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Weekly Reflections // Week 64

20th - 26th December 

Favourite Photo.

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Finally getting my Hogwarts letter framed.
♥ Surviving a supermarket trip with Jake without getting angry.
♥ My 'North East Story' appearing on the New Girl in Toon blog!
♥ Sleeping through the night after not sleeping well for a few nights.
♥ Eating a whole broccoli for lunch.
♥ Finding a lost memory card.
♥ Feeding the swans on Xmas morning with Baker.
♥ Seeing Baker open his gifts.
♥ A lovely lunch with my family.
 The most wonderful ending to Downton Abbey (as well as the fabulous Alnwick Castle & Beamish being used as filming locations - woohoo North East England!)
♥ Getting all my ironing done while watching Downton.
♥ A lie in.

Best Blogs or Posts I've Enjoyed.
What I've Watched.
[!] How I Met Your Mother S9
[!] Jill and Jessa Counting On
[!] Saved by the Bell: The New Class S1 & S2
[!] The Wizard of Oz
[!] Downton Abbey
[!] Our Cilla
[!] Britain's Favorite Children's Books

Other Articles etc of Interest.
Talking Points.
Without putting a downer on this usually optimistic and happy space, I have to say the world disappoints me at times like this. While some houses struggle to pay their bills, some have no home to call their own and people are living without families and parents, there are people in other houses eating to the point of making themselves ill, posting photos of sofas piled with gifts and after having already spent hundreds - even thousands - for one day still go out the next day and blow more cash. I'll never understand a world where such extremities get looked over.
Don't get me wrong, I am very, very lucky and got to spend the day with my little family, with thoughtful gifts and food in my tummy but I never forget those less fortunate. I do my bit and if I had the money some people do instead of 'spoiling*' people who really don't need pointless trinkets I'd spend it on more important things. 
I didn't mean to waffle on so much, but it's something that has really gotten me down this year. I hope it'll make people think.

*I cannot stand this word. It is not a good thing. Please don't 'hope I get spoiled'.  Greed and gluttony are sins after all and you are actually celebrating Jesus' birthday so....

Friday, 25 December 2015

Seasonal Decor 2015!

Merry Christmas all!! I hope that you are all well, with those who mean the most to you and are spending it doing what makes you happiest.
This is Jake and I's 5th Christmas together! What's more is that all all 5 of those Christmases are documented on this one blog. Madness. If you'd like to see the previous years decor posts I've linked them all below otherwise, let's get on with having a quick peek at this year...

The photos aren't what they could be, but time was short after getting home from London, getting back to work and sorting everything for today. I hope in a way that not many of you are reading this today as it should be spent relaxing and all that jazz haha, so as always posts like this are for my own reference in years to come :)

Seasonal Decor Posts -
2014 (same house as 2015 but in our front living room as opposed to the extension where we are this year)
2011 (tree only)

I want to end today's post by again wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and please remember the history and background of the holiday no matter what you believe.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

My Life in Photos // Working Hard in November

1 more of these and I'll have been doing this series for a full year! Woah. No word of a lie and not being cliche at all, but this year has been the fastest one in a long time. It's flown by and that is madness. I'm not a fan of time going fast, people wishing the days away and life disappearing - it's so short as it is and I don't want it to whizz past. 
A lot of people do the 'Photo an Hour' posts and I'd love to join in on that but because I do so much of certain things the photos would be boring. For example, in this post I edited photos for about 4 hours in the you see what I mean?
I enjoy my way of doing it anyways haha I hope you're still enjoying them too.

1// You know winter is coming when the sun hasn't even fully risen and you've already been to and come home from work! 
2// Most day's morning routine begins with blog work of some sort. Today I got some photos edited while catching up on YouTube and having dog snuggles.
3// Better get at least some house work done...popping the laundry on.
4// Back onto the laptop and getting some photo editing from a recent shoot done, ready to send them to the family.
5// Are there any other dinner options in this weather than soup?!

6// I always find it amazing when someone from another country buys one of my prints. It's amazing to write out the different addresses.
7// Off to meet Mam to walk to the Post Office in the pouring rain! She then came back to mine to see Baker. He sits on everyone's knee but you'd think he was magnetized to my Mam.
8// Football is not my favorite, though Jake loves it, but as it was England v France I wanted to see the start and obviously cried a lot.
9// Smile!
10// Most nights I go into the spare room just to look out at the sky and bridge. I love that I'm so close to it and seeing this after the football was pretty special.

Dark mornings, even darker nights. It should be normal going to bed when it's dark but I'm so used to it still being light at my bedtime haha. Obviously this was from back in November but it was a Monday, so I wanna know all about how your Mondays look! Send links or tell me about it in the comments :)

Monday, 21 December 2015

OOTD // Uniform for Walkies

The time has come, my little friends, to talk of other things.
Of dogs and shoes and river walks, of outfits of the day!

This is my third attempt at this after re-starting an old series and I'm still no better at having someone take my photo. Like the last set, my Mam took these! It was a very gray day and being after 4pm, beginning to get dull too so the quality in general isn't as great as it could be but who gives a hoot haha.
My everyday clothes consist of jeans, a t-shirt/jumper and trainers/skate shoes and many variations of that combo, but stick on my raggedy parker and an old backpack and you have my dog walking attire haha!

What I Wore
Coat - Parker with 'Sheep Skin' lined hood, New Look
Scarf - Black and brown patterned Desert Scarf, H&M
Jumper - Sequin Daisy grey Crew, Primark
Trousers - Denim blue black Skinny Jeans, Next
Belt - White and Gold double row Studded Belt, Lowlife
Shoes - Brown and Gold Chelsea skate shoe, DC
Backpack - Black and Yellow check backpack, Non-Brand - T K Maxx

I know a lot of people, bloggers in particular, love autumn and winter but I just don't ha ha. I'm not a fan of being freezing or having to wear layers and layers as I am a cold person to begin with and already wear layers in summer!
We'll have to wait and see what the OOTDs look like once the snow arrives to prove my point...

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Weekly Reflections // Week 63

December 13th - 19th.

Favourite Photo.
Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Getting to have a quiet (and non-kicked seat) journey to London in 1st Class for my first time.
♥ Seeing the Disney tree at St Pancras.
♥ An emotional and astounding evening at The Lion King for Mam's birthday.
♥ Managing to effectively navigate the hell hole that is the London Tube lines despite rude people.
♥ Fantastically helpful staff in most places.
♥ The lady who tapped my shoulder and handed me a tissue as I was sobbing while approaching the doors to the Great Hall.
♥ The Harry Potter Studio Tour in general.
♥ A particularly friendly staff member at Euston station, driving us from the platform to inside on his vehicle.
♥ Having leg room on the train home when the person opposite me didn't turn up. 
♥ The sweet old man who had never traveled 1st class before who spoke to us and was excited for his journey.
♥ Getting home to my two boys!
♥ Sleeping in my own bed, with no noise to keep me awake.
♥ Being able to walk up a street, wait for and get on a bus and go to the supermarket without anyone pushing me :P

Best Blogs or Posts I've Enjoyed.
What with being away I haven't really read any. Sorry guys!
I'll have an extra good list next week for you :)

What I've Watched.
[!] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
[!] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
[!] Home Alone.

Other Articles etc of Interest.
This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Celebrating Dick Van Dyke’s 90th Birthday
A Fathers Christmas Gift to Wife of Passed Son.
Russian Tiger Befriends Goat Instead Of Eating Him
Proof the Queen DOES read her Xmas cards... when OAP stops writing after 60 years she responds
Man Finds His Stolen Dog While Looking To Adopt A New Shelter Dog
Everything Wrong with the World in Art Form
Severely Obese Man Loses Hundreds Of Pounds With Yoga
10 Surprising And Secret Ways Your Dogs Says “I Love You”

Talking Points.
Lets all take something from this. Talk about it and share. #GiveAGiftUp

Friday, 18 December 2015

Defying the Retail Stereotype

You have no idea how long I have been planning to write this. I would go as far as betting that it's actually been sat as a draft since I first left my job at Poundland.
Yes, so for those who don't know before this cleaning job I am currently at in my little town, I worked at a big Poundland down in Newcastle. Other than that, in the retail sector I have also worked for New Look and three very different types of stores.
Anyways you all know the reputation working in retail has and by that I mean how customers can be mean, rude and downright disrespectful to a lot of workers. This was especially prominent in a 'bargain' store where people seemed to assume that by working there I was uneducated or an idiot.
 However I also had some really good times while working at Poundland and I want to share a few of those with you today.

One of my all time favorite memories had to include a dog didn't it?! In my position I was responsible for the clothing, DIY and Pet isles, can you guess which was my favorite haha. Well when stocking up pet I'd often get talking to different people about their animals and what they were buying etc. One  lovely lady was stocking up on treats as she was going to soon become a rescue Mama of a dog from Romania. She stood for ages talking to me, telling me all about the process and the dog that would be coming to live with her soon and promised that when she arrived that she'd come back so I could meet her. I loved talking to her and hearing the story but never really thought she'd come back. To my surprised a good few weeks later I was tapped on the shoulder and she said 'We got her! She's outside :)' I literally dropped everything and ran to the door, dropped to my knees and had lots of doggy love from the sweetest little rescue ever - it made my day.
Not only that but the lady must of appreciated my enthusiasm too as I was complimented by her to fellow staff members.

Another great, but sad memory is that of an old man. If you know me you know I  have a weak spot for old men and not in a weird way, but since I lost my Granda I just find myself like that.
This was a morning that I was working on the clothing section and a sweet old man came tottering round the corner from the health and beauty isle looking a little lost. I asked him if he was okay and he asked if I wouldn't mind helping him finding a few bits. I hopped down from my stool and spent about 10minutes with him picking up the bits and pieces he said he needed. Once we'd completed his list he stopped and put his hand on my arm and said, 'Thank you very much for taking the time to help a silly old man. I lost my wife a few weeks ago and she used to do all of this shopping and stuff.'. I filled up, tried not to sound too emotional when I gave him my apologies for his loss and told him it was my job to help. But he proceeded to tell me that no one had helped him or given him as much time as I had.
It made me feel bad that not every retail assistant fulfilled their job description to the right standard but I was happy to have been able to help him.

Lastly I'll include a little funny though slightly embarrassing for me! I am the type of person who just cannot be rude. When a customer is talking to you you cannot just say, sorry I'm busy and leave - unless of course you've been called to the till or something. So when a guy from Africa wanted to get my opinion on his poetry/song (that just happened to be about 10-15 minutes long) I listened. Other staff members would come by and laugh behind their hands as he sang and I stood there listening. He was so passionate and genuinely wanted my feedback, especially on pronunciation of words and if he was using the right words with English not being his first language.
I think all in all I probably stood talking to this guy for at least 35 minutes and he probably would have been there longer if a member of staff hadn't come to ask me to help with another customer, but I really didn't mind. Before my social anxiety got worse I loved meeting the vast diversity of people I did and personalities like this guy not only made my shift go faster, but with a smile too.

I met many other fabulous people during my just under a year stint working for Poundland...obviously there were the awkward, sassy customers too but they aren't worth remembering. If you have worked in a retail store before I'd love to hear about it, especially the good memories so please share them in the comments :)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Inked and Awesome // Kerri of Crumbs in the Bed

The 48th Inked and Awesome is here and it's an extra awesome one! I posted the first one, mine, way back on the 11th of November 2012 and it has stayed one of my favorite series to put together.
Obviously being passionate about tattoos and the things that some of us go through as a result makes me extra appreciative of everyone's stories, as well as loving seeing photos of the amazing works of art you all have.
This one is no different, though is extra exciting for me as Kerri has become a good friend of mine over the course of the year and I am so insanely jealous of how gorgeous her pieces are. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. 

Name: Kerri
Age: 25
Occupation: PhD Student

Tell me about your very first tattoo. 
My first was a few years ago, it's a simple one: two birds, one on each shoulder, one is a living bird and one is the skeleton of a bird. As much as I like them, I'm considering covering them up as they don't fit the style of my other tattoos. I already have an idea in mind, I just need to save my pennies and wait for the artist to open their booking up!

Do your tattoos effect your job, have they in the past? 
Luckily, they don't. But that's more because I don't show them at work rather than it being a relaxed tattoo environment. Judging by the reactions to my hair, if I suddenly whipped out a rather large tattoo of an octopus, I can only imagine the questions/judgements and everything else. I prefer to keep them to myself.

On the odd occasion people have seen them (usually it's the ones on my shoulders), the reaction has been a little bit of shock and a little bit of disapproval, but nothing more than that. Although, I think this is because my shoulder ones are small in comparison to my others, so maybe they'd react more to my larger pieces.  

What, if any, discrimination or bullying have you encountered due to being tattooed?
So far, nothing yet, which I'm happy about. As I said, I keep them mostly under wraps so I have so far avoided any weirdness or bad reactions.
Are your friends and family into body modification too? If not what do they think of yours?
Not really, I have a few family members that have some small tattoos but nothing more than that.
Going along with the keeping-under-wraps-thing, I don't tell my family when I get new ones and tend to not go out my way to show them, so I never really here their thoughts about them. For the most part they believe I am joking, when I said I would expand my octopus tattoo into a sleeve, they genuinely thought I was kidding. Three appointments later, I'm not sure they still think I'm joking.

Show us your favourite piece and talk us through it.
Damn, that's a hard question! I probably change my mind about my favourite one all the time, but for this, I'm going to say my right thigh piece. I love it.
It's a portrait-like piece of a polar bear and an emperor penguin – my two all time favourite animals. The piece was done by San from Deuil Merveilleux in Brussels – a fantastic artist! – in February this year. For me, it represents my relationship, it's my two favourite animals representing my favourite person – it sounds too big headed if I say my "two favourite people" doesn't it?
I choose the polar bear and the penguin, because they are my favourite and because they are, quite literally, polar opposites, which, when I think about Kris and I, that's what I think about. When we first met, we were a classic case of opposites attract and it still stands true today and I wanted to represent that in something permanent.
I'm not very elegant at expressing the meaning behind my tattoos...

Which tattoo of yours has the most meaning or sentimental-ness behind it? Do you think all tattoos should have meaning?
The one I just talked about, easily the one with the most sentimental value. Also my pocket watch tattoo, that has some sentimental value too.
As for every tattoo having a sentimental value, absolutely not. I don't think anyone has to justify their tattoos with a sentimental value, there's no reason not to have a tattoo simply because you like the design or idea. Your body, your rules in my opinion.
Sometimes you can get a tattoo for the reason of liking the design and the meaning might come later. But, I don't think it's always necessary.  

Are you planning anymore?
There's always plans going around my mind. The coverup, the finishing of my right sleeve and I have plans to turn my left arm into a sleeve too, but that's a long term plan.

In one sentence what would you tell someone who asked, 'Did it hurt?' ?
Oh, the classic question. I'd probably just respond with some side-eyes. People should come up with more interesting questions to ask.

Leave us with some words of wisdom regarding body modification.
As long as you are happy, then the opinion of others does not matter.

I told you it was gonna be a good one! haha 

Make sure you get on over to Kerri's blog, Crumbs in the Bed, and follow if you don't already, you must. Hands down one of my favorite blogs ever and not just because she's my friend :P 
I am also now actively seeking NEW participants so if you are heavily or visibly tattooed and would like to share your story please get in touch via email - - with 'INKED AND AWESOME' in the subject line. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Grace and Corin's Play Day Shoot

Many moons ago when I lived at home (my parents), I befriended a new neighbour. There are 10 years between us and many house moves have happened since, but we have always stayed in touch. She is one of the worlds sweetest women you will ever met and since getting married and having her kids, she has only become even more amazing. Her children are an absolute credit to her too. So beautiful, happy, intelligent and caring. 
Anyways, the point of this post is to say that I am lucky enough to have had her support in my photography for many years and got to take some birth photos and toddler photos when Grace was little but was yet to photograph the latest addition (latest, although he's over a year old now) Corin...until now!!
Finally. Finally, I got the pleasure.
Gill and I share the love of natural, un-posed photography and so she picked me up to go and play at their house. We had a great morning and so I wanted to share a very small portion of our set. 

I hope you enjoyed having a peek at this perfect little family. I hadn't done any work for anyone since my Seaside Baby Summer Photoshoot back in June (which you should totally check out because I was actually really chuffed with those photos!), so wasn't sure how I'd get on but I think I managed to get a few cute shots - babies are fast and so to get things in focus when there is a lack of light you have to be on your game haha.
Obviously I took a heck of a load more photos but I don't like to share as much as some photographers do online as they are personal and for the family themselves to cherish.