28 February 2012

my new favourite breakfast

The last couple of weeks I've been quite aware that I haven't always been getting my 5 a day. When I'm home we almost always have smoothies in the fridge, but they're a tad expensive for a student budget! Fruit however, is pretty cheap, especially if you avoid buying things that are out of season. Fruit juice is pretty cheap as well if you stick to the supermarket brands. I'm not the best person at eating breakfast, I have to be up for quite a while before I can stomach the idea of eating (pun intended). So smoothies are great for the days when I get up a little later and don't feel like eating before I head off to Uni. The only problem is the fact that my hand blender is MEGA loud and thus ensures that the rest of the house is awake... But really I'm doing them a favour by getting them up nice and early.

This tastes amazing. Seriously. Amazing. Also, it even looks healthy, so basically I will drink it until I get sick of it or the world runs out of bananas. And, its super quick to make. Could this get any better? I think not.

1 Bannana - sliced
1 orange - peeled
Natural yoghurt
Rice milk/Regular milk

Blend the bannana, orange and milk together until smooth & then add yoghurt to taste. If you're not keen on 'bits' in your smoothies then you could strain it, but you'll have to make sure that its thin enough to strain first.



25 February 2012

a curious visitor

There are quite a few cats around where we live and recently I've been seeing the cutest black kitten who doesn't seem very old at all. When it snowed a few weeks back I caught him playing in the snow in our back garden but I didn't have my camera with me and I was too busy watching him to run upstairs and get it. Yesterday when me & R got back from the library he was just hanging out in our back yard so we stopped to say hi. He wasn't really too interested in saying hi to us but he was pretty keen on checking out the house - he was straight in the back door before we really realised.

He spent half an hour or so exploring the house before we encouraged him back outside - I was quite sad to see him go. Especially as he'd been to tolerant of us sticking our cameras in his face. Did you see his name tag? 'The Dude', seriously, who even calls their cat that?!

24 February 2012

friday favourites #7

This weeks was so hard to choose! I didn't take a ton of pictures, but I took loads of these feathers and found it so hard to pick my favourite! The others are all on my flickr, but I'll probably share them on here in the next couple of days as well. I think the detail in this one was what did it for me, I love the texture of the feather and how detailed the shadow of the chain behind it is. 

Today felt like the first day of spring here, it was warm and it seemed to stay light far longer this evening than it has for a while. I'm loving it. 

23 February 2012

the change bug

Every now and again I catch what I affectionately refer to as the 'change bug' a somewhat distracting illness that makes me want to change pretty much everything about my life. Well, everything might be a slight exaggeration, but something in me is definitely crying out for change at the moment. Both small scale and large scale, obviously large scale is a little harder to address, but I'm figuring that there's no reason why I can't take a look at some of the small things and figure out what it is I need from life at the moment.I'm a firm believer that change is good for us, something that should be embraced rather than feared. Of course, change can be scary, its natural for us to fear the unknown, but its also beautiful - it forces us to experience new things, deal with new situations. Most importantly? It makes us see ourselves in a new light, a positive light, an "I can deal with this" light, even for the really simple stuff. Even the change that is terrible and heartbreaking can be good, eventually, even if its just in a tiny little way. So I thought maybe it would be fun to share some of the stuff that I've been thinking about a lot recently, my main reason for keeping this blog really is to keep a record of my life and its important to me to keep track of shift in my thinking as well as things that I'm physically doing. For those of you who follow me on Pinterest, I apologise - most of the images are taken from my pins because thats what I use to keep track of all my internet 'stuff'.

For some completely unknown reason, I have fallen in love with red hair. Like, seriously fallen in love. If you follow me on pinterest then you may have noticed the sudden influx of red hair pins. I don't even know why, I mean, I'm pretty happy with my hair colour. But I really really really love red hair at the moment. Its a good job I'm so terrified of hair dye, otherwise I would definitely have made the switch. Its also a good job that my mum is getting married later this year, otherwise I probably would have conquered that fear already! Who knows, maybe I'll still be feeling like this in the summer and something involving plastic gloves and the bathroom sink will happen. We'll see.

all images from my pinterest where credit is given

I've also been feeling a little bored of the blog design recently, I know I only redid it a few months back - but I feel like I want to change it again already! Each time I re-do it I learn so much more about HTML and CSS and I feel like I'm ready to learn a load more. I think the thing thats most of a problem to me at the moment is the colour scheme- so I've been browsing Design Seeds for inspiration. I've been really drawn to warmer colours and pastels, probably because its almost spring! Its been really hard narrowing it down, but I think it'll be one of these three...

I've also been wanting to make some change to my room, decorating isn't really all that easy when you live in rented student accomodation, but I've seen a few DIY's around that I'd really like to try to brighten the place up a bit. I'm really lucky to have a really big bedroom and it works really well for me as I've divided it up into different 'zones'. I try to keep my desk just for doing uni work, the other side of my room for sleeping and chilling out and a bit of floor in front of my window that is the perfect size for my yoga mat. I've rearranged my room quite a few times to figure out how it works best, and I think I've got it down now! Just a few bits and bobs I've seen recently that I might have a go at...

Source: via Vicky on Pinterest

Source: via Vicky on Pinterest

Do any of you get like this? Or am I the only one with the crazy need to change things up every now and again?!

21 February 2012

tune on a tuesday

Just a quick one today, wanted to share this with you all. I apologise for the video - its the best I could find that would actually let me share from the UK! Enjoy xx

my weekend totally ends on monday night

Its true, the way everythgns worked out this semester I have no lectures on a Monday, which stretches the weekend out beautifully. Its been a quiet one here, studying, knitting, hanging out with friends and finishing it all off with a quiet one at the pub last night. My kind of weekend. That said, its been a pretty productive one too...

You may remember that I mentioned I was knitting a shawl? Which I finished on Friday. Decided I didn't like on Saturday and had unravelled the whole thing by Sunday. I loved it but, it just didn't sit right or anything, I should really have accounted for the fact that I'm short and adjusted the width but...I didn't. However, its kind of worked out really well - I was sorting through my stash and found the perfect shade of red to go with it, so I'm knitting it up into a baggy sweater instead.

I've also cast on some legwarmers and a cowl this weekend, I love the look of thick knitted socks under boots but I really hate knitting socks for some reason - so legwarmers are the perfect! The cowl was an attempt to use up some yarn I was given a few months ago and it was a really simple project to take along to the KnitSoc meeting so I could concentrate more on talking than keeping track of where I was in a pattern! I'm so glad I decided to go along, its really nice to just chill out on a Sunday afternoon with a cuppa and a whole bunch of people that share my a love for knitting and the Hunger Games. Its like, my perfect combination.

I've been wanting a white board for a while, so I can keep a list of the important stuff I need to get done somewhere that I'll see it. Everytime I see them anywhere though, they just seem expensive for what they are - so I decided to make up my own. It was super easy - its just an old photo frame with white paper inside hung up on the wall. Normal white-board markers work really well and it comes off really easily with a damp cloth. I already had a frame hanging around but I've seen loads in charity stores with old paintings etc in that are really cheap - I'm tempted to make another one for our kitchen! It would probably be better than writing our shopping lists on the window...

17 February 2012

friday favourites #6

Hello boredom...goodbye gravity....

After the post I wrote on self portraits (here if you missed it) I decided to go for it. I'm not really comfortable right now with just taking photo's of my face, or me standing in front of a wall or whatever so I decided that the best way to approach it would be to try out some stuff I've been wanting to have a go at for a while. So, here we are.

I really love this, I want to do an entire series - I think it could be fun. Thoughts?

15 February 2012

stick to the word & get your knit on

Some of you may remember this post, where I talked about the word that I wanted to manifest this year. I know its only February, but I already feel like this is going to be a really positive thing for me. Its something I can just hold in my mind and use as a mantra, a promise that I've made to myself.

Last week I got an email from KnitSoc, the university knitting society. I signed up in September when the term started, missed the first meeting and didn't really think of it again. If I'm being honest with myself, I didn't want to be the person that turned up at the 2nd/3rd/4th meeting or whatever.

So I got this email, I read the email, I then dismissed the email. And then I remembered my word. So I decided that I would just go for it, see how it turned out. I could always leave if I hated it. It was a little crazy, I even tried to talk myself into not going - because it was raining. But I went. (I realise the fact that I have conversations in my brain probably makes me sound like a crazy person, but, whatever.) I'm not even sure what I was so worried about, everyone else was there for the exact same reason as me - they wanted to get to know some people with similar interests. They didn't want to pounce on new people and eat them alive. Obviously. Sometimes my mind is a very strange place.

I guess the point of this post is that this is working. I do have the confidence to do this sort of thing, I just need to remind myself of that every now and again.


I've got a couple of projects on the needles at the moment, but I decided to take my shawl with me - I wanted something that was fairly easy to knit that didn't require too much concentration. Also, I'm so close to finishing it and I just want to get it done now! It was really nice to just sit and chat with people that share a love of knitting. So glad I went. 

10 February 2012

friday favourites #5

I'm not usually the biggest fan of photographing flowers, all my shots seems to turn out looking pretty similar. I guess I need to play around a bit more with angles and composition. That said, I do find them a really good subject for playing around with different shot settings. Here I was experimenting with depth of field, I got a few shots that I was really pleased with but I think this one was my favourite. The only thing that I feel lets it down is the petal in the bottom right corner, I tried cropping it out but it just didn't look right.

I feel at the moment like my camera is running a little sluggishly, it probably needs a professional clean and overhaul but I can't really afford to pay for that at the moment. Do any of you photographer types have any advice for giving it a good clean?

09 February 2012

chicken pie and the hungry caterpillar

This week has been all about lectures and adjusting back to uni life post exams. I have a crazy-empty schedule this semester as I took more credits last time and one of my modules is just a week long field trip, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with all this spare time. Last semester I struggled to keep up to date with extra reading so one of my aims for this semester is to try and stay on top of everything so I have less to do when I'm revising. I've also got quite a few craft projects started and planned so I'm looking forward to having time for those. Although I seem to have a bit of a problem at the moment with actually finishing anything! I've started keeping a list & a pinboard on pinterest now of things that I want to try in an attempt to stop myself starting something then getting distracted by something else 10 minutes later. Because yes, my attention span really is that short!

Tuesday I decided that an effective use of time was to make stuff, namely food because I live with two men that are perpetually hungry. So cake and pie was a pretty safe bet. The cake was a disaster, I'm blaming our oven entirely but it kind of resembled a giant doughnut. No, seriously, thats how much it sunk in the middle. I didn't even take pictures because I was that ashamed.

The pie on the other hand turned out pretty well, it's the first time I've cooked pie in this oven and I was a little worried that a baking tin may not be the most suitable thing to cook it in. But it was, although the pastry did stick to the bottom a little bit so next time I might just stick some baking parchment in to be on the safe side. In the tin, not the pie. Because that would be weird.

Tuesday was also my first day of lectures, I think all my classes are going to be really good so I'm looking forward to getting past the introductory lectures and into things in a bit more detail. I'm also pretty happy that one of my lecturers taught us the story of the Hungry Caterpillar, because I love that book. I'm not entirely sure that its degree-level stuff but y'know, we'll just see where that goes.

I also think sometimes that I live with mental people. Last night R just stuck his elbow in my face and yelled at me to touch it. Then we watched THE strangest thing on tv, we weren't entirely sure it was real or whether we were partaking in some collective dream. It even caused M to dance in the living room. I know right?

On a side note, I just googled the Hungry Caterpillar and found a cupcake version. This has made my day.


06 February 2012

frankly: on self portraits and narcissism

I've recently read quite a few articles on the merits of self portraits, all written by photographers. It got me thinking about how self-portraits are generally perceived and peoples attitudes towards them. Through high school, I found that there was a pretty much a 'type' of person that took pictures of themselves, or to clarify, there was a 'type' that took multitudes of pictures of themselves and posted them up on whatever social network happened to be cool at the time. Unfailingly these pictures were accompanied by complimentary remarks. I could never quite work out the dynamics, was the original poster looking for a confidence boost? Or were the people commenting looking to win favour? Who knows!

It's never really appealed to me, for a variety of reasons I suppose. Mainly, I don't really like to be the centre of attention. Uploading a ton of picture of myself in various poses? Definitely draws attention, positive or negative. With the exception of this blog, I've never used a profile picture that was taken by myself.  The blogs picture, is old. Like, 4 years old. My photography teacher encouraged us to experiment with self portraits but I always felt, awkward and self conscious. Not whilst taking the pictures, but if anybody else saw them. In my brain was this little voice saying "What must they think? What kind of self obsessed person spends ages taking pictures of themselves." And that was pretty much how I thought of it. Odd really, as there were a few people in my photography class that took stunning self portraits, and I never once thought that of them. Funny how the human mind works.

When I think about it now, I realise that I was actually appreciating the difference between an expressive self-portrait and a picture taken in the bathroom mirror. Another fine line drawn between images that are photographs and images that are snaps. Amongst the photography community, it seems to be a perfectly acceptable way of practising portrait techniques when you don't have a willing victim friend to practise on. When I think about my photography skills objectively, I know that portraits are one of my weaker areas. Yes, I can blame the fact that I don't have the professional equipment, but this is really just an excuse. The blame lies entirely with the fact that I very rarely take pictures of people.

Part of this is due to the fact that a lot of the people I know are camera shy, which admittedly doesn't make practising easier. The rest is due to the fact that I'm unwilling to practice on people if they're going to be disappointed with the results. I guess partially, its also because I prefer shooting other things. So I wonder, would practising on myself help me to hone these skills, make me a better portrait photographer? The answer is probably yes, although I think it'll take a while before I begin to see it as an exercise rather than self indulgence. The fact that I hate being in front of a camera is also of importance, but at least if I put myself through it then I'll be able to sympathise with other camera shy people.


The next problem, is what to do with the images. Is it vain to post pictures of yourself? Does that not come across as being somewhat narcissistic? I suspect it lies entirely on the nature of the image, and the context in which it in being used. Some people accuse fashion bloggers of being narcisstic, from my experience however this doesn't appear to be true. I personally appreciate the inspiration these bloggers provide me with and view it as a form of self-expression. The images I've used in this post are all self portraits, but none of them feel self-centred to me, or artificial.

I also believe that many people who use the word narcissist have a very poor understanding of what it means. Loving yourself, having confidence in yourself and believing in yourself are not traits of narcissism (in my opinion), they are traits of a healthy person with a positive attitude and self image.

This is quite a delicate subject and I'm sure there are people out there that think very differently to how I do. I'm really interested in what you guys think about this, what is your stance on self-portraits?

This is part of Frankly: a new series I'm bringing to the blog where I'll be writing longer articles to explore the way I think about things. If you have any suggestions, or there's anything you'd like to see my thoughts on then please let me know!

03 February 2012

friday favourites #4

For some reason recently, everytime I open photoshop I unwittingly produce something surreal that looks like its been attacked with pastels. I'm going with it...

01 February 2012


I had an entirely different post planned for today, but as I was catching up on blog reading I discovered that I had been tagged by Nina! I was really humbled by the fact that someone enjoyed my writing enough to recommend it to other people - thanks so much! If any of you haven't come across Nina before you should definitely go and check out her blog, she's a super sweet lady! This kind of thing is such a great way to meet other bloggers, and share random facts about yourself at the same time!

11 facts about me...

1. Writing a list with 11 things on it is incredibly difficult for someone who doesn't like odd numbers!
2. I used to hate tea. I don't even understand how this could have happened but its true.
3. I am probably one of the clumsiest people you will ever meet!
4. Coloured pens have to be in rainbow order, otherwise it drives me absolutely nuts
5. I am terrible at organising my photos, I have about 365461 different systems and none of them work
6. I can't stand it when people lick their yoghurt lids. I find it really gross.
7. Simple things make me really really happy
8. It totally freaks me out if someone follows me up the stairs
9. When I was little I was fluent in French, now I don't remember any of it!
10. I love shoes but I hate wearing them, if its possible to go barefoot then I do
11. When I was little I wanted to be a pathologist. Because of course its perfectly normal to want a career that involves cutting up dead people.

And to pass on the love, I really think you should go and check out these ladies; Abigail, Josie, Siobhan,  Lauren, Halina, Mal and Noemie. These are just a few of my favourites - I'm working on my blogroll page to share some more fantastic blogs with you. Enjoy!

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