Photo a Day – Week Fifty

Added a new star bowl to our collection.

A frosty morning.

I’m sure I take a photo of this sun every year. I love the combination of bricks, terracotta and metalwork.

Someone had a birthday last week and yes this photo is blurry beyond hope. However, that face blurry or not was a sheer delight.

A crazy hard jigsaw puzzle that I bought Gav for Christmas. I didn’t realise it was going to be so difficult. He had to try the blue pieces in each spot…..that’s what the little piles are for so he knew which one he’d tried!

The potatoes are started.

Making bread.

There we have it.

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30 Vegetarian Pizza – A Review and a Bonus Pizza

Wow. This project was a long time in completing!

It all began on the 8 March 2014. And really? I can’t believe almost three years have gone by since then. But time flies. You can read my orignal post here.

Looking back at what I wrote in that post I have to say first and foremost I pretty much failed in this project. I wanted to try different flours and cheeses and toppings. But it proved harder than I thought to sway Gav from his tried and tested dough recipe and the toppings were a challenge too. All that said I need to make it clear that I wasn’t doing this whole thing as just something to write about here. I had hoped to push our culinary skills but when it came down to is he cooked the pizza, I photographed and then we ate them for dinner on Saturday nights. On only one occasion did I get in the kitchen and make three at once. And I only did that because it was a bright summer day when Gav was off walking and I felt like trying out some toppings I knew he wouldn’t like. (Yes, the beetroot one! Ha.) Basically it was real life with its real challenges.

But enough of the negative, what about the positives? We have discovered several new favourite toppings.

This one from Cookie and Kate was my number one.

Followed closely by Quorn ham and pineapple.

Such a great combination.

I also loved the beetroot one….

That had Feta cheese on it too which I think worked so well with the sweet beetroot.

Then there was the artichoke and sweetcorn.

With a few black olives and red onion throw into the mix too.

And finally the one in the photo at the top of this post. It was number thirty one because I miscounted! Of course best is last right? This was roasted vegetable. Onions, courgettes, red pepper and tomatoes roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes and added to the pizza before cooking. It was so good.

So there we have it a few lessons learned and a few new combination of flavours, not bad really for three years in the making!

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Photo a Day – Week Forty Nine

Another week in pictures.

We have several arcades in Leeds City Centre that date way back. This is the Grand Arcade. I must remember to photograph them all one week.

Spider webs on a misty morning.

Me and her waiting for Gav to arrive at our local pizza place.

Uh oh! Massacre city, poor old Santa….. He did make it into February though.

Gav bought himself a new bit of kit……

Looking after my BFF’s pooch. Such a gentle, adorable soul but he didn’t quite make it to his cushion.

My sister, younger niece and I went to decorate pottery! Such fun.

And there was another seven days.

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52 Stories – Number Forty Two – Floating Free

Here we go with another scrapbook page in the 52 stories series.

When we came back from Portugal last year I was searching through all the photos looking for this shot. Then I remembered that Gav took it on his phone. A good reminder that getting other folk to take some pictures of you is important. I asked him to get this picture because, as my story spells out, I was in heaven floating in that pool and if I hadn’t asked him to get a pic I probably would not have made a page about it.

Floating Free

Here is the story from the page –

For about twenty minutes one day and ten the next I was alone in the pool. I swam, I drifted, happy and content. It was glorious. After a while I decided to try and float on my back and when I found my groove I kept doing it over and over. It was absolute heaven, a perfect moment, perfect experience and I’ll always remember that weightless solitude in a sea of blue.

The takeaways from this page/ would I add anything more?

Got this one pretty much nailed down. I did write my words out before hand and that goes to show that a little practice pays off!

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52 stories is a series (or adventure) in my story telling. Can I get the whole story onto a layout? Am I telling the stories I want to tell? Read the inspiration post here.

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Project Life® 2017 and some thoughts

This will be my sixth year doing Project Life®. I can’t actually believe that I have been making these albums for that long. It is a way of memory keeping that I love and I hope to keep going with it for a few more years yet. (I have no intention of stopping, it’s just that I know things phase in and out and what I enjoy now could change.)

I was happy to read that Ali is hoping to share her album more this year on her blog and that she is re-running the class she did on this subject. I took the class last year and loved it. I hope to watch all the videos again this month to ignite creativity.

Here is my title page for 2017.

Most of my albums don’t have a completed title page so I’m really happy that I have got this one done. The 4 x 6 cards are from the Dear Lizzie core kit and the Road Trip mini kit. That great stamp ‘collect moments…..’ is from the Ali Edwards Story Stampset ‘Stuff’ that I bought in the sale last year. It’s a great stamp set for honing in on the important things in life.

I cut out a little pooch head from one of the cards from the dog mini kit and added it to the you and me card with some typing done on my manual typewriter.

As of this moment I have completed 3/4 of last years album and the rest of the photos have just arrived from the printers.

I thought it might be interesting to document how I manage this project week to week so I made a list…..

  • I do one side per week more often than not. This means that the year fists into one      12 x 12 album.
  • I almost always use design A page protectors.
  • I have a note book that I write in from day to day diary style.
  • I sketch a design A page protector at the start of each week in the note book.
  • Live life, take photos. The important bit!
  • Upload photos at least once a week (I do this anyway to backup photos and for other blog posts.)
  • Go through the photos with my note book and select the ones I want to print. I keep them in a folder on my computer. I try to do this weekly but in reality I often do three or four weeks in one sitting. I write a brief description of the picture in my note book.
  • As I go through selecting photos I watch for stories to tell, if I find a story I’ll jot it on the page as a reminder.
  • Upload the photos to Photobox. I have used this company here in the UK for years and the quality and service is great. I usually send six – eight weeks at a time.
  • Slip the photos into the pockets when they arrive from the printers.
  • When I feel in the mood to work on the album I use my note book to remind me of the stories I wanted to tell.
  • I’m still using two core kits that I bought in 2013…… The Honey edition and the Dear Lizzie Fifth and Frolic I mention those here. I also bought four mini kits over the last couple of years the pooch one, the seasons, the Road Trip and the DIY shop. I have been thinking that I need to start using some other cards as this is one of the areas I feel a little uninspired with. I don’t think I’ll buy a core kit again as there are too many cards of the same design in the kit and it takes a long time to use them up. Mini kits sound like the way forward for me.

Another thing to say is that I have accepted that I will not be ‘up to date.’ Because I send the photos away to print I have to get enough pictures to make that exercise worthwhile from a cost point of view, as I mentioned above I tend to send a couple of months at a time. I am okay with this. For a couple of years I printed at home but decided it wasn’t worth the cost over the convenience.

And that’s it. My take on Project Life® It is a commitment that’s true but the beauty of picking up any of the albums I have from the last few years and seeing those words and photos is priceless. I can’t recommend it enough.

I have some photos of last year’s album that I will share here soon and then I am going forward with 2017 to live it and document it!

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Project Life® is a memory keeping system developed by Becky Higgins. I am using the Honey and the Fifth and Frolic ‘Dear Lizzie’ Core Kits, the Seasons, DIY shop, Road Trip and Pooch Mini kits on my pages.

Go here to find out more from Becky.

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What I’ve been reading – January 2017

I’ve had six months off from Lord Peter! The last book I read about this character was a bit of a challenge. This novel was found in a charity shop some time ago and knew it was the last book Ms Sayers wrote about Lord Peter Wimsey and although I struggled with some of her novels I have come to love them and was reluctant to read the last.  But read it I did. And, maybe because it was the last, it was probably my favourite.

All the expected elements were there for a classic detective story. A body, a country house and a cast of colourful characters. The detective story was interlaced with a little romance and Bunter at his best! I would definitely pick it up again and re-read.

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Photo a Day – Week Forty Eight

Here we go with some more photos from life in Leeds!

Can’t get enough of the Hellebore flowers.

Bought Gav a grow your own Mushroom kit for Christmas. Look at the little fungi!

Painting. (Sorry the colour is way off on this photo.)

Frost on rose hip.

Layers of mist and cold.

Tis the season for seed ordering.

Visiting my Mum, propped the phone up on the fence so I could take a selfie.

And there we go.

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The return of vinyl……

I think it all began by seeing this post and then of course reading this book. I admitted when I wrote about my thoughts on the novel that it made me want to find a turntable and listen to records again. I happened to mention this to my sister and for Christmas she bought me a record player! She is the gift queen.

So I had the device on which to play records now for the records.

On Christmas Day when I announced that I had a brand new record player my sister-in-law went straight home and brought back her record collection. I think she was as excited as I was to talk about old records. Then a few days later I raided my Mum’s garage for their collection of vinyl and found some of my old records too. It’s funny that when I moved out of my Mum and Dads these records weren’t important enough to take with me. Thirty years later? I have fallen in love with them all over again.

I hold my hand on my heart and openly admit that most of my desire to have a record player again is rooted in nostalgia. The desire to go back in time and relive a moment or two. And it did happen. There have been a couple of albums that when I put needle to shiny disc and the first notes played I was twelve again and dancing around and around. The words of the songs flooded back and I sang along at the top of my voice.

Moments like that are what I call happy/sad. Nostalgia is like that.

The other part of me that wasn’t looking back to a time gone by was looking in the opposite direction. I was hoping for a new experience. That I would put on a record and  listen to the album the whole way through. That I would let it play and let it fill the room with music. I’m not explaining it very well but I guess what I wanted was a slowing down. We have a couple of very music savvy friends and I was chatting with one of them about the joy of having a record player again and he said that listening to a record on a turntable changes the way you listen to music. That is the essence of what I was thinking and hoping for.

Already I have woven the playing of records into our weekends and it feels great. I’m hoping to search through charity shops to add to our collection and I even have a couple of record shops jotted down in New York for when we go next month! Very excited to see how this new/old thing develops and moulds itself into our lives right now in 2017.

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The Breakfast Love Affair Continues – Apricot And Almond Bread French Toast

As promised here is the breakfast delight I made with the Apricot and Almond loaf.

Although there is nothing spectacular about this breakfast it felt spectacular and it’s interesting to remember that the addition of a couple of ingredients elevates food to another level. So note to self Mel!

It was my usual French toast/eggy bread mixture which is gently beaten egg with seasoning of salt and pepper – even if it’s going to be a sweet offering I always add pepper to the egg mix. Lightly fry in melted butter for a couple of minutes or until the raw eggy-ness is crisp and golden brown then flip over and do the same on the other side.

Serve immediately on a warm plate and enjoy.

I added a chopped banana to mine and a drizzle of maple syrup. I’d like to try it with fresh apricots too sometime. The flavours of the bread seemed to come out more after the cooking process also something to remember. Enjoyed this one and will be trying it again.

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Photo a Day – week forty six and forty seven

Here we have another couple of weeks of photos.

A full up log store. We’ve found a group of coppice workers who manage local woodland and sell properly seasoned sustainable firewood. Makes my heart sing to be helping these folk and have a plentiful supply of logs.

Coffee and tea time.

Our favourite noodle salad in the making.

Sunrise.

Through the window. Love this view.

Out for coffee with my Mum and sister.

The sprouts are still doing their best.

This is a snapshot of a corner of the garden. I’d like to say it is the only messy corner but alas it is not.

A gathering of garden goodies just waiting till needed.

An adorable pooch.

Oh dear. Hot chocolate and treats.

Took some time to play with paint.

I store all my scrapbook layouts in American Crafts 12 x 12 albums and at last I got round to adding labels to the spines.

Caught in the weak winter sunlight.

At last we are up to date!

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