Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A heavy hearted goodbye for a while...

Hey lovely readers and followers

You may have noticed it's been an age since I last posted and that's quite simply down to the fact that I am so super busy that I just don't have time to blog. It's really upsetting, but I guess the Dissertation, Work and my usual Sewing, Baking and Craft hobbies have to come first right now; plus of course I have a holiday coming up!

With a heavy heart, I'm going to have to bid you farewell until I get my dissertation handed in, my holiday out of the way and on top of a few projects that I have going on in work and outside of work. When I am ready I will come back to blogging with loads of content (already collecting it!) and lots of fun projects.

In the mean time, you can follow me on Instagram NANNA_KATE (some sneak previews below!), Pinterest nanna_kate and Twitter @nanna_kate and I will be keeping up with all of your blogs to which I am subscribed through Google Reader. Take care and keep in touch and MASSIVE huge thank you to you all for being so loyal and making my blog a little buzzing hive of activity.


Nanna Kate X

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

My Month In Numbers March 2012

Hi there lovely loyal readers, this is my very delayed month in numbers for March - it's delayed because it has just been such a busy month! I've hardly had time for my blog and I am so, so sorry, but I am going to have to be as brief as possible with my month as I am yet again busy, busy, busy!

17 = the day of March upon which my birthday falls. Yes, St. Patrick's Day, Guinness, Whiskey, Leprechauns and Clover are what it's all about...
28 = the age I was and
4 = the number of days I took off work to wrap around the weekend of my birthday and elongate celebrations
24 = approx hours of disbelief after opening an Alexander McQueen Neckscarf, Marc Jacobs Lola Ring and Radley Handbag for my birthday. Amongst a whole bunch of other equally gorgeous pressies.

Excuse the incredibly awful quality photographs... shame on me and my camera! :o)

11 = am when we met at our train station pub to get the train to Newcastle for a day at the Races at Gosforth to celebrate my birthday - that's me in the Paddy's Day hat (I have quite a collection now from each of the last 8 or 9 years!

£95 = biggest win of the day. It wasn't me, it was my other half though, which effectively means it was all mine...

My biggest win of the day was on number 11 (my second one!) Scales - who came in at 8/1 - I chose the horse because of it's excellent form... If you don't believe that, then believe this - I chose it because I am on the Weightwatchers Plan and Scales have become a big part of my life! Ta-Da £45 = fat ones I won :o)

1 = Comedy nights we attended - our 12 Firsts for the Month of March! The night was called Lady Ha Ha, a comedy night featuring all female comics, which we attended in International Women's Week! Woop! It's great to be a gal, especially when you see the talents of Vikki Stone, Bethany Black, and Tiffany Stevenson with compère Kate Smurthwaite.

1 = also the number of concerts I went to see. Florence and the Machine rocking Newcastle, she is one amazing woman.

1 = ALSO the number of days I spent Geocaching totally amazing, had a ball and had a long walk in the process, you can read about it in one of my previous posts by clicking on the word Geocaching!

24 = miles driven late at night to see the Yarn Bombing at Saltburn Pier. 10 = approximate minutes spent there it was FREEZING!

261 = miles travelled for a 3 = day training course in Bristol where I had to fend off mini pistachio macaroons like this...

... to achieve 6.5 = lb lost in March bringing my total to 20.5lb = lost in 12 = weeks since I began Weightwatchers! It works so well and I am so happy! I have dropped 1 = dress size and I am not only eating Special K. Double :o)

2 = visits to the Gym which I have been a member of for 3 = months... :o( At least I have set the ball in motion now - 45 = minutes on the bike to earn myself 9 = Pro Points - the rough equivalent of 18 = cheese triangles (light).

Finally 2 also = number of hours spent watching the Hunger Games. Wow. I simply loved it - what a cool, edgy take on dystopian literature. My lovely perfect other half bought me all 3 = books, so I am going to get cracking reading them over coming months. However, it's made me itch to get out 1984, Never Let Me Go and a Handmaid's Tale, all my other favourite Dystopian novels!

Hope you had a fab March, I will see you again (not so late) in April, loves.

Nanna Kate X

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Monday, 26 March 2012

Digital is BACK!

Happy Monday my lovely readers! What a gorgeously sunshiney weekend we had up North, hope the rest of my readers are enjoying Spring too! I went out for a picnic yesterday (Weightwatchers friendly of course!) and took along my new (second hand) Digital SLR Camera. It's a Nikon D100 and when I bought it from a girl at work, I hadn't a clue how to use it.

After today, a brief flick through the instruction manual and a browse of the Digital SLR and Photography for Dummies e-Book I bought in preparation for purchasing the camera, I'm no further forward, but I did manage to take a picture or two... so here's my first few snaps!

After my Analogue Adventures which just cost SO much in developing costs, I am quite happy with the results of these pictures and really seriously re-embracing the digital lifestyle (though I used a photo editing package to do some auto corrections and cleaning up). I can't wait to get the sensor cleaned on the camera so that I don't have to do any editing and can just enjoy the pictures for what they are!

How did you maximise your time in the sunshine?

Nanna Kate X

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring has Sprung

Today, the clocks will go forward and that means one thing to me, Spring has most definitely Sprung. I have just got such a warm fuzzy feeling right now, there are crocus and daffodils all around the grass verges, roundabouts, footpaths, motorways, lambs in the fields, light evenings and mornings which make you want to actually get out of bed rather than snuggle back down in to your duvet - even in the ugliest places there are little signs of springtime popping up.

My girlfriend bought me the most beautiful tete-a-tete Mini Daffodil for my growing houseplant collection and I bought two Spring scented Yankee Candles to fragrance our room with Spring (they were a little disappointing but that's a whole other story!)

What's your favourite thing about Spring?

Nanna Kate X

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Oooh la la

I've finally found a French Restaurant. Well technically that's not true it was the work of my other half, who took me there for lunch for my birthday this month. Since my first trip to Chaulnes, 16 years ago I knew I loved French cuisine more than anything in the world. I've returned plenty of times over and I have never found anywhere close by that replicates the authenticity of Moules Marinières, Salade Niçoise and Steak Frites...

We went to Rustique in Richmond for lunch though and it finally filled that baguette shaped hole in my heart, I started with a Crayfish Cocktail, followed by Gratin de Fruits de Mer, rounded up with a Crème Brûlée. My partner tucked in to Soup De Jour (Basque Egg was unavailable and potentially the only other thing she would eat - very fussy eater) which was Tomato and Goats Cheese, then Steak Frites with Au Poivre sauce, finally a Crepe stuffed with caramel and Banana.

What I liked best was not that the place was stunning, nor that the waitress was the nicest person in the world, nor that the food was stunning, but that the place was unpretentious, with chunky plates, simple cutlery and a bright bubbly atmosphere. Though I am perfectly capable of differentiating my soup spoon from my salad fork, I hate feeling intimidated by a really pompous ambience, I like to feel comfortable and to enjoy my food and to laugh a little at the pronunciation of the menu choices or to just point at a wine selection, without compromising on the special feel of a meal out.

I will be reviewing Rustique soon, but for now, here's some pictures of our wonderful meal (which was bargainous at just £40 with a glass of wine and coffee!).

Where's your favourite French restaurant?

Nanna Kate X

Friday, 23 March 2012

Finding Inspiration

I must be the only person who would need to go out and buy something if I followed a tutorial for an upcycled item. I never have scraps of such and such laying around - perhaps a side effect of my frugal personality - I don't tend to buy a lot 'just in case' and I don't like waste, so I will measure and plan to make sure there aren't off cuts or leftovers. INSTEAD, I have a penchant for keeping and collecting things and as a result tend to have a lot of odds and sods stashed away - but these things get forgotten about and then I go through a 'minimalism' phase and give everything to charity. My other half thinks I am a bit of a pain for it - there isn't a crevice in our room which doesn't have a box of something stuffed in it - then four bin liners will emerge and a swift call will be made to the latest charity I support to see if they are taking donations!

We bought a new bed this month and whilst tidying underneath our old one to make way for a frustrating flat packing session, I found a lovely little tin of inspiration. It was filled with vintage lace (I usually get annoyed when people throw the word vintage about, but this is older than me!), fabric and bits and bobs like the teddy shaped button you can see in the picture, lollypop sticks, pipe cleaners, match sticks, feathers to list just a few...

It didn't just happen under the bed by mistake. I inherited it from my Nanna (my Mam salvaged it for me from her things when she passed away and I'd always loved to rummage it when I was a kid), who used to knit dolls (like those I saw at Saltburn Pier, but my Nanna's were even more wonderful!) and used to collect everything and anything to adorn the dolls with. I remember once she made a little Fisherman for my Dad who was a keen Angler, it had a tiny twig she just picked out of the garden for a fishing rod and a tiny silver knitted fish hanging from it. I take comfort in the fact that I'm not the only one who collects all random manner of things, the difference is, is that my Nanna's treasure box is exactly that, one box. It's perfectly organised with pins securing the wound ribbons and laces. Piece of inspiration number one - organisation is key to hoarding little crafty bits of treasure.

The most astounding thing in the box is the lace. It's all different colours and thicknesses and is begging to be added to a project and unleashed from the box. Piece of inspiration number two - make something using the lace so I can have my Nanna with me at all times (physical presence will be nice in addition to the place in my heart).

Piece of inspiration number three - get committed. Not in to a mental asylum. I have a million ideas for projects at any one time swirling around my mind. And my Nanna did too, this box is evidence, she was always making something. I need to get making even if it isn't a huge project, even if it is, even if it's simple, even if it isn't. I'm positive that there's some kind of quotation I could probably insert in here but for me, 'an idea you don't turn in to reality is a sad shame' (Nanna Kate, 2012) will do... Thanks Nanna for providing me with lots of inspiration through your carefully curated collection.

Where do you pull your inspiration from?

Nanna Kate X

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Geo... What Now?

I was telling my colleague at work all about the Yarn Bombing on Saltburn Pier which I wrote about here. She told me about another 'craze' which I had no idea about called Geo Caching - I just knew I had to try it and as I had a couple of days off for my birthday, we decided to have a go. It's sort of a real life treasure hunt using GPS Satellites. If you don't know much about it, or want to know more after reading this post, I recommend......... a quick Google of course - what else!?

We only downloaded the free version of the App on iTunes (also available on Google Play) because the full version cost £7 and we're far too tight to splash out that sort of money on an App! Within the free version though, you get three possible Geo Caches at once which was kind of all we needed as we could only 'do' one at a time.

A Geo Cache is a little log book left somewhere concealed, in a container, usually a 35mm film canister (if you don't know what that is, you probably should be watching Hannah Montana or something rather than reading about a 20-something running around looking for 'treasure'). Depending on the size of the Cache (other containers can be used) there can be little 'artefacts' left for you to find, or even just the tiniest log book, no pencil, in a 'micro' Cache. Usually the description of the location of the Cache will tell you any special instructions - such as making sure you take a pen, or an artefact to leave behind, or whatever, so you need to read carefully.

We went to a small village just outside the town we live and we set off on foot (though some Caches are 'drive by'), we walked 2km to the location of the first Cache on the app. It wasn't there, or if it was it was seriously well concealed - like buried! So, 2km back to the car and we drove to the second Cache which also wasn't there. And then we drove to a third site. Still no Cache. Finally we stopped at this old railway line and followed the path for 2.2km (and yes, 2.2km back!). A cut thumb, shoelace issue, contact lens incident and wet dog sniffing at me inappropriately later - and we found our first Geo Cache!!!! I don't think either of us have ever been more excited!

It was a medium sized Cache and contained lots of little cute things people had left behind, a log book and a little bit of information about Geo Caching. I was just overwhelmed by how exciting the concept is that there are literally millions of these across the world - one could be right under your nose. Plus if you get some nice sunshine like we did and take a camera and picnic, it could work out to be a very nice day out!

Plus we earned loads of Activity Points for Weight Watchers too from all of the walking... all in all a beautiful day. Have you ever heard of / been Geo Caching? What did you think?

Nanna Kate X