:: Japan……visually beautiful……..

Japan

Japan

It’s that time of year when you start to look for inspiration for the family holiday.  Our little family of three each have a different idea of what constitutes our ideal holiday.  However, I think with our main contender this year we may have hit the Jackpot.

The big man, has always wanted to visit after studying Japanese as part of his degree in linguistics…..tick. Little man, has studied Japanese culture at school and is fascinated by the ancient temples and warriors…..tick….and for me the visual stimulation and photography opportunities look too good to miss…..tick..

Has anyone been to Japan? Any recommendations?……I have to say  I am a bit daunted by the road signs…..I just hope the big man is not too rusty with his Japanese either!

:: Project 52

Project 52

I have been interested in Photography for a while, documenting the usual family life, but most recently developed a desire to start a new career in Lifestyle photography. I have found a wealth of information on line, beautiful blogs, become a Pinterest addict and learnt oodles regarding the principles of photography and post processing via the marvel of You Tube.

One of the most inspirational projects I have found in which to participate is a “Project 52”. The concept is easy, you submit a photography each week to a predetermined theme.

There are many project 52’s you can join and I chose to join the a project hosted by a fabulous photographer Sarah Cornish from http://myfourhensphotography.com

Sarah provides a theme each week and group members can submit their entry via Flickr (yes I’m a Flickr addict too) or by a designated Facebook page. There is a prize for the winner every week, some fabulous photo actions to use with various editing packages, but for me the prize is seeing stunning pictures from other members and their individual and unique interpretations of the theme.

I have been in eye candy twice (which made me do a virtual blush but was so gratefully received) but I just love the whole experience of being part of such a creative group. My Sunday evenings are now spent refreshing the MFH page (very often) eager to receive the weekly theme. Monday evenings are my guilty pleasure, perusing the pics with a hot cup of tea and chocolate.. tut tut….no good for the diet….

So if you are new to photography or have been snapping for years and want some fabulous company….come and join in….Would love to see you there!

:: Holidays……faith restored!

I remember when I was a child going on holiday was a real experience, flying was exciting and pleasurable and the destination was culturally different to home. Mass tourism and globalisation however has meant that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a resort untouched by the mass invasion which is only a short hop and jump from home.

So the headache of trying to find a suitable, close destination for a quick break began. Together with the challenge of having three family members with three different requirements. The first, big man, was the facility to continue training for a forthcoming 170 mile bike ride, little man’s requirement was plenty of pool time, my requirement was some luxury, no housework, plenty of shade and a small town near by so I could sneak off and practise my photography.

After much deliberation and nights of surfing, I found a small fishing resort on the north east side of Crete, Plaka, and what a find it was…..

From the minute we rolled out of the taxi the relaxation began……

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The most inviting bed was waiting to greet us……….first box ticked!

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It was about six minutes flat before the little man changed and tested his pool, yes, in the dark…….second box ticked!

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And the big man managed to secure a bike…………last box ticked!

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After the early morning bike ride…..lazy mornings were spent around the pool……

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Long lunches were had under the Carob Tree in the beautiful Plaka……..

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Followed by a stroll around the quaint village…..

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Followed by swimming and chilling on the beautiful beach, with cuddles from the little man!

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Early evenings were spent in the neighbouring harbour, Elounda……

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Where every table had the most amazing view…..

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Locals could be found enjoying the last of the days sun, father and daughter waterskiing on the calm bay and fisherman heading out to sea…….

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We of course squeezed in the obligatory sightseeing trip to Spinalonga, a island which used to be many things, fortress and up until 1957 a leper colony. Having read the book “The island” whilst overlooking Spinalonga during the first part of the week it was a very thought provoking visit.

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Before being snapped back to modern living whilst taking the exhilarating speed boat taxi to lunch…..

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From the minute we arrived to the minute we left we could not fail to be overwhelmed by the warmth and friendliness we received from the beautiful people of Plaka and Elounda.

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Stunned by the colourful flowers……..

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Relieved to see original architecture……

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And a huge thanks to the staff at the fabulous Blue Palace Resort for a truly special and pampered week….your customer service was impeccable!

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So here’s to a big big “Yammas!” to the lovely people of Plaka, thank you for the most amazing week with you! It was a blast!

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:: My modern man!

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One of the biggest adjustments into motherhood for me was the inability to go out spontaneously like I did before the munchkins arrival.  Don’t think for one minute I’m complaining…….I love being a mummy but hated the mindless dribble on the tv!

When the munchkin was 18 months old we moved into a victorian house with lots of huge sash windows.  In an attempt to escape the tv, relieve my boredom and to save some pennies…I decided to teach myself to sew! I measured the windows, downloaded some instructions from the Internet (what did we do before the Internet) and hauled the sewing machine my mother had given me 7 years previously from the bottom of the cupboard and set to work!

Many, many, many blinds later for ourselves, family and friends I progressed to making a variety of easy projects, hearts, bunting, cushions and even patchwork quilts for friends grandchildren.

Having mastered a straight line…my next challenge was to go round bends……and I have now ventured into the mind boggling world of dressmaking. I spend hours perusing my stash of books and my current bedtime reading is a variety of sewing and pattern drafting books. The latest project ….. project ball gown……more on that later!

Well it was a beautiful sunny day here in North Yorkshire today and I was fired up for some frizby, football or bike riding action on our return from school…….no ……..could we do some sewing mum, he had been learning the workings of a sewing machine at school today and was keen to put his knowledge to the test!

I consider myself very fortunate to have my own little den up in the attic…full of ….books…..fabrics….ribbons….and of course a sewing machine…..so off to the attic we went …..armed with a drink and chocolate mini rolls…..vital supplies we thought!

It was quickly decided that we would make a heart….one for his sewing teacher and one for his house tutor who is currently recovering from a skiing injury!

He excitedly raided the scrap bag and set about drawing his hearts with the “Magic Pen!” ready to cut out!

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Now the tricky part….cutting out the four hearts without losing any fingers….phew….all fingers intact!

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Let the sewing commence…..

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A bit of stuffing……

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Followed by a touch of hand sewing……

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Ta-dah!

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Not bad for a first attempt…….with the only help from mum being to sew the ribbon and button on! Two finished hearts for two lovely ladies handmade by my modern man!

:: Fab party weekend!

And so the Birthday celebrations continued……

We all met at the birthday girls house and the bubbles flowed……

Followed by shrieks of excitement when the taxi for the evening arrived……kindly organised for us by the host herself……

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Although we are still officially in Spring, it felt like a beautiful summer evening as we made our way to our ride!

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The birthday girl managed the gravel drive in her amazing shoes!

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It felt quite surreal….whooshing through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside in a white “Hummer!” All dressed up and sipping champagne! What a treat!

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We were spoilt with the most amazing views of the setting sun through the window, which made me think how lucky I was to be in such a stunning place with fabulous friends!

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The journey felt extra special to one friend as we passed through a certain quaint village where she once lived and her father was the local village police man!

We continued through many such villages and were treated to views of beautiful countryside and ancient ruins. The driver did an amazing job managing to get up steep hills and round such tight bends in a vehicle as long as ours, whilst remaining undistracted by the group of giggling girls in the back……well done to him!

The evening continued with dinner at a stunning restaurant….we ate….salad caprese, fillet of Yorkshire beef and a Vanilla Macaroon to finish……it was delicious!

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A friend of the host had made her the most amazing Mojito cake……which miraculously survived the journey to the venue and back……

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Thank you to the birthday girl for organising such a fabulous night with fabulous friends……..truly a birthday night to remember! Thank you lovely lady….x
 

 

:: Don’t you just love birthdays!

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day in North Yorkshire, perfect weather to celebrate a very special girlfriends birthday!

The day started with the birthday girl having a well deserved pamper at the hairdressers……followed by a delicious lunch at a nearby Italian……..leaving room for a fabulous afternoon tea at “Our local haunt!”, kindly organised by two other very gorgeous friends!

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I only wished I had left more room as it truly was delicious……fingers sandwiches, a selection of cakes and scones washed down with lashings of tea and frothy coffees!

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Flowers were given…..

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Presents were exchanged………

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The birthday girl received two fabulous lanterns for her forthcoming project……perfect choice girls!

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Completed with a stunning homemade cupcake especially made for the birthday girl by the lovely cafe owner……

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Thank you for letting us spend your special day with you my lovely friend……you really do light up the room with your smile…….here’s to a fabulous year!

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:: Just do it!

Sometimes in life you just need a little motivation, today mine came in the form of a little munchkin begging me to take him on a bike ride when we got home from school. Having aching legs from a gruelling gym class yesterday and a tummy full of cake from a fabulous afternoon tea for a special friends birthday, cycling was the last thing on my mind…….but I’m so glad I submitted to the little man and just did it!

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The bikes were dragged from the garage and we set off to the other side of the village to pick his buddy up en-route!

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We are so lucky to have such lovely countryside right on our doorstep.

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We cycled to the little church near by…..

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The boys played by the pond with two huge sticks……like boys do…..

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The duck pond was duck less…… probably hiding from two boys with two large sticks………

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On the ride home from his buddies house, after a cup of tea and soda bread from my Irish friend……..I thanked my little man for a lovely bike ride and for forcing me to get out there and ……..just do it!

:: Yeah…..the sun is out!

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Having survived the Easter holidays, today was the first day back at school for my little man. He was so excited he was dressed in his full uniform and sitting on the edge of his bed as smart as a shiny new pin ……time 06:20am! Shame his mummy found it hard to re-adjust back to the early starts! Having completed the school run and a class at the gym, urgh, note to self….. much easier not to eat far too many Easter eggs, I decided to venture into town to take advantage of the beautiful weather. I did have errands to run of course but managed to squash in a little treat!

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It was lovely to finally see the first signs of spring whilst I walked through the park

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Past window after window of tempting treats!

Finally my will power broke and I sneaked into a little cafe I found a while ago……up a side alley…..very quaint and quiet…..

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Meringue or Brownie? The brownie won the contest and was washed down with a frothy latte……a little bit of me time, peace and tranquility away from the bustle of York!

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Followed by a brisk walk back to school past the minster to pick up my number one man, definitely by far the best part of my day!