Sunday, 31 January 2016

Weekly Reflections // Week 69

January 24th - 30th.

Favourite Photo.

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Sunday with Mam and Dad.
♥ Spotting and enjoying the voice actors that voiced multiple Disney characters.
♥ Busy, productive days!
♥ Cutting up, blanching and freezing lots of fresh veg for myself.
♥ Only working 6-8am, meaning I'm at home all day with Baker.
♥ Lovely blog comments <3
♥ Bonus features on my Disney DVDs.
♥ Packing up a few little orders from my Etsy!
♥ Making some fun bird feed for my birds (& an upcoming post!)
♥ Having Jake to kill spiders for Baker (who is scared too) and I.
♥ Managing to get to and from work without blowing off the bridge!
♥ Watching the snow from the window with Baker and Mam.
♥ The first monthly 'date' day with Jake.

Best Blogs or Posts I've Enjoyed.
[!] The Fox and the Hound
[!Home Alone 2: Lost In New York
[!] The Black Cauldron
[!] Basil, the Great Mouse Detective
[!] Oliver and Company
[!] The Little Mermaid 
[!] The Rescuers Down Under
[!] The Revenant
[!] Beauty and the Beast

Other Articles etc of Interest.
Student Comes to the Rescue of Mentally Ill Man, While Off Duty.
World's First Elephant Hospital in Thailand [from 2011 but the photos are amazing]
The 'It Happened' Photo!
This Dog Accidentally Ran A Half-Marathon And Placed Seventh
Autism Barista or AKA Dancing Barista
This Cartoon Explains Why The Weasley Twins Never Noticed Any Funky Activity On The Marauder's Map
Polecats 'spreading across Britain'
''I adopt 'hospice babies' no one else wants; here's why I do it.''
Off-Road Bikers Rescue and Reunite Lost Dog With Owners
Fans of Ziggy Trixx the skateboarding dog launch crowdfunding appeal to help his family move to a safer home after his growing fame led to a break in
The Bloopers From The Pivot Scene Are Everything You Could Ever Need
Dog Chained Up For A Decade Has The Sweetest Reaction To Being Set Free
The Heartwarming Reason Mr. Rogers Always Told Viewers He Was Feeding His Fish
Joanne Froggatt: I Couldn't Get A Tan On “Downton Abbey”
DNA Confirms Headless Roman-Era 'Gladiator' Not From Britain - And Maybe Not A Gladiator

Talking Points.
Nothing for this week - we resume next Sunday!

Posts from the Past.
Favorite post from the past week - A Frosty Morning Wildlife Watching
This week in 2015 - Exploring Edinburgh // Camera Obscura
This week in 2014 - A Rainy Day Visit To The Home Town
This week in 2013 - Inked & Awesome - Liza Sherlock

Friday, 29 January 2016

Project 365 // Summary 2015

I've put this off long enough. My 2015 Project 365 round up post is finally here and I had no idea how to do it until today (8th Jan). It was going to be impossible to choose just one photo to represent each month, considering it was daily photos as opposed to 2014s weekly photos, so I chose two instead - such a rebel!
Let's get into it :) 

The first month of the year was a lot colder last year, but we still got out and about! Bird watching, lots of dog walks and a trip to the local Panto with my Mam and Nana! It was a month of firsts too as Mam got her first ever tattoo, my first calendar with my photography didn't just go up on my wall but in other peoples houses too and I did my first blog giveaway!

Jake's Birthday was this month and he turned old (27). To celebrate we took a rare dog-free trip to Edinburgh Zoo later in the month. Animal wise, we also were lucky to spot an otter in the river, do lots more bird watching and even saved a baby pigeon that had been spray painted. Unfortunately I'm usually ill but with feeling extra poorly I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with costochondritis - I was glad that it was nothing more serious!
Other fun things were that I photographed a family friends Christening and Jake bought me the beautiful antique Mickey and Donald that I'd been looking at for weeks <3

March was a slow month with a heck load more wildlife and animal photographing (as well as getting to tick of something from my bucket list when I spent some time with lots of little lambs at a farm) and preparations for Easter, with DIYs and decor. I got a new job, we had a webcam chat with my parents while they were on holiday for my Dad's 50th and I had a museum filled day trip to Edinburgh with my friend Claire.

Drip, drip, drop there weren't many April showers! Lots of sun called beach trips, Baker getting to swim lots which he loves and most excitingly I got to meet this Mama Mallard and all her babies! I was just on my way home from work at 8am and here she comes waddling down the road being sheparded by a kind man toward the river. I sprinted the maybe 100 meters back to my house, grabbed my camera and ran back. It was a special hour or so that I spent with the beautiful family.

I painted my parents kitchen, made homemade friendship bracelets (and blogged about them) and got a new large format printer so I could start my Etsy store! Safe to say it was a pretty creative month!
Our good family friends came all the way from the West Midlands to visit us too and we had a fab few days exploring Northumberland with them. It was extra fun for Baker as he got to play with their Collie, Bell.

Technically the visit mentioned above spanned over the beginning of this month too, so there's that. The heat got hotter in June. Rightly so, it's summer after all. That meant water and ice play times in the back garden for Baker as well as sun bathing in the house (him too, not me).
I did another shoot for a friend - one that I was actually pretty chuffed with the photos. We had pizza. I got a mouth X-Ray.

More sun meant we had to buy Baker a paddling pool to keep cool in! Though it made for a nice day for our 5th annual Race for Life :) We had the odd downpours too which I welcomed as I tried growing my own plants from seeds properly for the first time, they bloomed...then died :(
This was the month we finally got a bed for our spare room too which made it seem much more homely and less like a box/craft room.

Apart from a trip to Edinburgh (accidentally during the Fringe Festival) and Mary Kings Close with my friend Laura, a few fun dog adventures and Baker's 3rd birthday, this was a pretty normal month :)

September we enjoyed more nice weather, especially for our 4th anniversary on the 4th which we spent in Alnwick Gardens taking lots of awesome photos. The bee above had a sad story as we saw him struggling after he had landed in Bakers paddling pool! We 'fished' him out as gently as possible and set him in the sunshine (with a little branch with leaves for him to have some shade if needed), with a little spoon of sugar water. Baker was really interested in him and sat inside watching from the window until a few hours later when he'd dried off and fly away! 

I think this was my favorite month, and not because it's my birthday month. I turned 25 and for my birthday spent the morning before at Woodhorn Mining Museum with Mam and the evening with Laura at Disney on Ice which was just the most lovely time. On the actual day my Dad looked after Baker so that Jake and I could have a few dog-free hours to drive to Eyemouth, have a walk around the harbour and grab some chips.
What else happened in October? Halloween - lots of DIYs. That & my car broke down leaving Mam and I stuck in the dark on the Edinburgh City bypass for like 3 hours until the recovery truck arrived... Eek my Hogwarts letter came aswell! 

Was a sad and scary month. My thoughts and love still go to all of those effected.
Minus the preparation for our trip in December, this was a quiet month filled with a lot of reflection.

Due to Novembers events I was no longer as excited for our trip to the capital. I'm never a fan of London, in fact I'll say I really dislike the majority of stuff about it but with it being the capital terror threats are obviously more likely. We went anyways and stayed alert and cautious but fully enjoyed our time at the Lion King Musical on Mam's birthday and the next day exploring the WB studio tour.
Once we were safely home it was a great way to end the year.

Lastly is the full year overview above. Looking back month by month always makes you extra reflective of the year and although everyone experiences highs and lows I strive to only document the best things so as to focus on being positive. Don't read this post and think I'm super lucky with an amazing life as we have some hard times too like anyone else - but remembering those things and thinking about them allow them to take over your mind and drag you down. We don't want any of that here!
So yeah. That was my 2015 in photos. What was yours?

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

OOTD // What I Wore To Hogwarts

I knew from the moment that I decided what I was going to wear the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, that I wanted to feature it in an 'Outfit of the Day' post as I loved it so much! On the day however, I was far too busy crying, photographing and walking around with my jaw on the floor to even think of getting photos of what I was wearing. 
So here are a few random photos that Mam got of me at the studios alongside a few close ups I took of myself in the home studio - the only difference in them is my hair! 

What I Wore:
Necklace - Deathly Hallows Pendant, Etsy.
Backpack - Faux Leather Mickey Print Bag, Primark.
Cardigan - Oversized Mustard Knit Cardigan, New Look (old).
T-Shirt - Hogwarts Baseball Tee, Primark.
Jeans - Berry Skinny Jeans, Next.
Shoes - Vans Atwood Deluxe Canvas Trainers
Hair bow (not worn on the day) - Hufflepuff Bow, Platform 9 3/4 Shop, Kings Cross.

I was actually very surprised indeed that I saw less than a handful of other guests wearing anything Harry Potter related! I thought my outfit would be a very tame hint of the fandom but unfortunately not. We were there from around 10.30am - 5.00pm and in that time only encountered a group of 4 in full wizard robes and maybe two odd other people in themed t-shirts! Boo!!
Either way, I was happy to rep my house colours and was very comfortable. Oh, also..we didn't even take our coats at all!! It was SO warm in London that we decided to leave them at the hotel and even when walking between trains and to and from the hotel, we were warm enough just in what we had on. In December?! Isn't that mad?! The Londoners were all wrapped up in big coats and scarfs even on the stuffy tubes so I doubt they could handle the cold weather we get up beyond the wall haha.

Monday, 25 January 2016

A Frosty Morning Wildlife Watching

The morning after I finished my last shift at work before going away on my London trip I spotted something on my way home from the bridge. Excitedly I ran home, grabbed my camera and headed straight back out in the hopes it was still there. As you can see from the photo above - he was!!
I spent a good hour or so that morning taking lots of photos and so, in another of my photo-only posts, today I'm gonna share a few of them with you.

In order of appearance in photos these are the species I had the joy of photographing - Common Seal, Young Herring Gull, Grey Heron in flight, Mute Swan with Little Gulls, Redshank, Rock Doves taking off together with a Great Black-Backed Gull on the right hand side, Redshank (again), Common Seal (again), Great Black-Backed Gull taking off, then in flight, Great Black-Backed Gull in either first or second winter plumage, Jackdaw, Juvenile Mute Swan (late born), Rock Doves, Robin and finally a female Blackbird! 

Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post and which of the birds I spotted is your favorite!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Weekly Reflections // Week 68

January 17th - 23rd.

Favourite Photo.

Top Thankful or Happy Moments.
♥ Having my Mam on a Monday! (Her day off changed)
♥ Finding stunning antique furniture when I least expected it.
♥ Doctors visits that settle your mind.
♥ Having Amanda mention me in her Blogger Recognition Award post <3
♥ Dad. 
♥ Getting all comments on this here blog answered!
♥ Clearing my 6 memory cards fully (for the first time since about 2013), transferring into folders on the external hard drive.
♥ Making up a 'recipe' and home making some cheesy dough balls!
♥ Seeing this year's Panto with Mam - though missing Nana for the 1st year.
♥ The best, squeeziest, cosiest sofa nap with Baker.

Best Blogs or Posts I've Enjoyed.
Snapshots from a Cold, Winter Morning Walk by My Return Ticket
So… I Was a Little Bit Irritated… by Jenny In Neverland
Vintage Disneyland Paris by Dollies Buttons
The Lost in a Book Tag by Wife of a Gamer
My Disney Trip Haul! by Lottie Does Disney
Highlights: 2015 Edition by Bloo N Stuff
A Little Announcement by Tiny Bird Heart
Vegan Leather Jacket by Ancas Lifestyle
That's A Sirius Amount of Selfies! WB Studio Tour Pt 1 by Sweet is Always in Style
To Inverness & Beyond! by Life After LDN
Styling Summer Dresses for Winter by G is for Gingers
The Lost in a Book Tag by Shout John
That one time I visited Hogwarts! by A Spoonful of Sugar
The Uk’s BEST Big Cat Experience by The Lucky Truth
Vanilla Sponge Cake || Baking Basics by Cakey Dreamer
Vintage Disneyland Paris by Dollies Buttons
Candy Cane Brownies by Cake + Whisky

What I've Watched.
[!] One Hundred and One Dalmatians
[!] The Sword in the Stone
[!] Jungle Book
[!] The AristoCats
[!] Robin Hood
[!] Winnie the Pooh
[!] The Rescuers

Other Articles etc of Interest.
Talking Points.
Health is so important guys. Until you have a scare you don't pay attention to the little things but seriously, look after yourself. My biggest fear in life is getting seriously ill, having to have surgery and the like so when I get something wrong with me my anxiety and stress make me even worse.
Stay hydrated, eat plenty fruit, veg and fibre, get outside and walk lots and stay on top of everything - please!

Posts from the Past.
Favorite post from the past week - Exploring Berwick // Walled Defenses
This week in 2015 - Project 52 || Summary 2014
This week in 2014 - News That Made Me Happy #3
This week in 2013 - Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Friday, 22 January 2016

Inked and Awesome // Jess of Foxxtailz

Name: Jess
Age: 25
Occupation: Customer service

Tell me about your very first tattoo.
Hahaa. My first tattoo I got when I was 16. My dad took me to go get it. Its a really crappy little star on my left hip. I guess you can’t be a bonafide emo kid without a token star etched on to you somewhere now can you ;)?

Do your tattoos effect your job, have they in the past? 
Not as such no. I am told on many occasions to cover them at my current job, but there's only so much covering you can do in summer and you're sat in a hot box of an office. I am respectful of the policies but its kind of hard when you're boiling alive for the sake of not having your colourful arms out. Its 2016 . . . . I hoping the industry I'm trying to get in won't care so much and may even do me a favour.

What, if any, discrimination or bullying have you encountered due to being tattooed?
I think being a girl and heavy tattooed still surprises some people still, there's a tonne of illustrated ladies out there and yet you still get the looks. You get the stupid ''what are you going to look like on your wedding day'' blah blah blah time questions. Freaking awesome that's what! I get older people just staring and tutting. Silly really. I've had people tell me I look butch and that I've ruined myself and ''it's not nice seeing girls with big tattoos'' shut it guys.

Are your friends and family into body modification too? If not what do they think of yours?
My dad is quite heavily tattooed and my mum has a few so they’ve never really discouraged me from getting any like you would expect parents to. My dads kind of proud how weird I am likes to show his mates down at the pub pictures of my stretches and tattoos. Mum hates it when I get a piercing, she would rather me get a tattoo. She partially hates my septum so mam. Most of my friends are tattooed and/pierced. My best friends Charlotte has some really lovely colourful designs. My partially favourite of hers, a flamingo in a martini glass of course.

Show us your favorite piece and talk us through it. Probably my fox on my right arm. I got her the beginning of 2014 from Joel P. Blake at Best Western tattoos in Swindon. The guys a genius and produces the most amazing pieces of work. I’ve always loved foxes and when I saw Joel's woodland animals I knew he was the guy to do it. It was my first ''big'' tattoo and took in total 9 hours to complete in one sitting. He did a great job and I'm still in love with it now.

Which tattoo of yours has the most meaning or sentimental-ness behind it? Do you think all tattoos should have meaning?
None of my tattoos have meanings or sentimental-ness to them really. I don't think you have to justify getting a tattoo because you want it  to represent something that happened in your life - great if you do but can't you just get something for just liking its sake? Have a bit of fun. The only one I have that's remotely ''sentimental'' is my pizza slice on my leg, it's matching to one my boyfriend has a bit of a joke as we literally are pizza fiends and kind of all we really eat.

Are you planning anymore?
Always. That's the trouble when you start getting tattooed you want more and more. You find yourself planning your next one whilst your still getting your current one done. I’m hoping to finish filing up my leg, get my feet tattoos covered and a piece on my thigh for my cat Cassie money permitting. I would also love a couple of Ghibli pieces.

In one sentence what would you tell someone who asked, 'Did it hurt?' ?
Ah I don't mind this question, people are just curious. I tell them, its an annoying 'pain' you can kind of put up with. Its hard to explain.

Leave us with some words of wisdom regarding body modification.
The major one everyone says its do your research, pay that extra and go to a decent studio, not a shabby shop in your local market that offers Buy One Get One Free's on tattoos. If only I was joking. . . . on the flip side to that have fun, decorate your body however you see fit and makes your feel comfortable in your own skin. Tattoos are about expression and being able to display some amazing artworks on your skin forever ^_^

Thank you so much Jess for giving us such a fun look at all of your lovely artwork. Make sure to pop over to Jess's blog, I Am Foxxtailz, for even more awesomeness! 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The 'Lost In a Book' Tag

Another tag, indeed! Now, as this has been sat in my drafts for a matter of months and I didn't include a link as to where I got it, I couldn't really tell you who tagged me or where I found it - apologies! If it was you feel free to tell me off on Twitter or something and I'll edit to credit you :) 
On with the tag...

Do you have a certain place at home for reading? Yes and no. When we moved into this house I bought a rocking chair and reconditioned it with the idea that it would sit in the bay window and be my reading area. However, after a year and 3 months in this place, I think I am still yet to read even a page while sat there! haha. I tend to mainly read in bed.
Where do you like to read? In bed, as I said above but also when on holiday - like by the pool etc but I haven't been on a holiday like that for around 8 years. 
Bookmark or random piece of paper? I'd like to say bookmark but I don't own any and it's not something I'd just go out and buy myself. I may actually have to make myself a proper one on my printer...I could even sell them in my store - all of the ideas are flooding to me now lol. Now don't get angry at me, but I don't use a piece of paper either. Eek. I'm really bad and turn the corner of the page over, which annoys myself but I turn the tinest bit that I can! 
(edit - since writing up this post many months ago, I have actually acquired a beautiful faux leather bookmark from the WB studio tour!)
Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop at a chapter? Usually I have to stop at the end of a chapter, but when reading in bed it just depends how long I can keep my eyes open for :P
Do you eat or drink whilst reading? Generally not, though I can do.
E-reader or real book? Real book!! This is a huge thing for me. I've never owned/used any kind of e-reader or tablet and although I obviously do spend a lot of time online what with blogging and such, I think certain things do not require technology to enjoy - especially reading. Not saying I don't think they are handy things for people, I'm just glad they are wiping out the printed I'm too scared I'd break it! Books look much more appealing lined up on a bookshelf too. 
Music or TV while reading? Oh goodness no! I can multitask 'till the cows come home with stuff like housework and work on the laptop but things like reading a book I need 100% concentration.
One book at a time or several at once? See previous answer! Ha! If I were to read more than one at once I'd end up getting story lines crossed over and not be able to let my mind digest it, in the end taking more time to read them all than I would if I'd done it one at a time.
Reading at home or everywhere? Everywhere I guess. I'm quite looking forward to taking a book with me on the Eurostar later this year, though hopefully it won't make me motion sick as I can't read on a bus or in a car!
Reading aloud or silently in your head? Silently in my head. Again, for some reason I struggle to fully take it in when I read aloud.
Fiction or non-fiction? Both! I love a fantasy world though...
Do you read ahead or skip pages? :O Who does that?!
Break the spine or keep a book like new? Ask my Mam ;) haha As unbroken as possible please and if you borrow my books, like my Mam, and break them I'll not be best pleased. It's not always just as easy as to not crack the spine at all but people who literally bend it backwards on itself?...Just why?! 
Do you write in your books? Again, negative. If you take a peek in the front covers of my Harry Potter books you'll see my name as I obviously got them when I was pretty young and apparently I was a fan of labeling anything I could with my name. But even with coursework and literature studying I would always use paper to take notes and never deface the book itself. It just feels wrong to me, I don't know how exactly but I just couldn't do it.
Your favourite book? Need you really ask?

I have no idea how many of you, or who, has completed this tag yet so if you haven't I tag you! I'd really like to see these guys in particular (if you like to read of course) and if you have already done it, sorry :)

Monday, 18 January 2016

Exploring Berwick // Walled Defenses

I have to admit something. This post has been pushed back and pushed back for maybe 8/9 months...Eeek! So yeah, this is where I luckily, really cannot sympathize with those who experience 'bloggers block' and the like as I always seem to have too many posts I need to get written/get up.
Anyways! That explains why it seems so sunny in these photos, but now to explain what they actually are of. 

Berwick Upon Tweed is famous for it's walled defenses which are some of the best in Britain and of course are steeped with history from the Medieval, Elizabethan & Victorian periods. The parts I'm showing you today are just small snippets that show some of the most important pieces of our historical defenses. 

The walls themselves were first constructed by Edward I in the 14th Century after it was taken from the rule of Scotland. Right up to present day the ownership of the town has been fought over between the English and the Scots with it being right on the border (or pretty much) of both.
Henry IV then took the town in 1405 when the once fantastic walls had become so worn out and no longer had the strength to provide their original protection.
However, in 1560, a whole new set of walls were built leaving very few pieces of the originals intact and so those that are seen today, including bastions, gates and 'ditches', are mainly from this Elizabethan re-build.

Around the walls is a popular walking spot for many, both Berwickers and holiday makers alike, however I don't think many truly appreciate the age and significance of some of the sites that you can see and even touch. They are in fact Grade 1 listed and owned by English heritage.
Above are just a few of the cool aspects of the walls, in order:
- Gun Powder Storage Building
- Gun Locations
- Beacon
- Canon Emplacements
- These enclosures (I have no idea what their proper name would be to be honest) are found on either side of each bastion. Click here to see an aerial view of the walls and what the bastions are.
- Small semi hidden passages like this one lead into the forts shown above and are inaccessible to the public, unless joining the guided tours.

If you'd like some actual good, detailed information about all of the above and more, this is a pretty good website to check out.

Lastly, I just had to include a few images I took on the same day from our look into the Barracks courtyard. Isn't it beautiful? Berwick's Barracks and Main Guard were some of the first ever buildings purposely built for their use as opposed to an existing building acquired to use as a Barracks and date back to the early 18th century.
You can visit the museum inside too, however that was saved for another day, so hopefully once it re-opens after the winter I'll go and explore again (I have been a couple times before, many years ago) to share with you all!

To explore more of my stunning home town, Berwick, click here! 
When are you coming to visit? ;)