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

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Yarn Bombing at Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Do you know what Yarn Bombing is? As a former WI member and pseudo Nanna, I felt very disappointed in myself that I didn't know what it was. I found out a few days ago when one of my colleagues asked me if I had seen the knitting at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. I hadn't and when I asked what on earth he was talking about he told me that a secret knitter had 'yarn bombed' the pier at the quaint seaside town. He 'thought' I'd have known it was there, I 'should' have known it was there - and yet there I was wondering why the hell someone would knit artwork and display it on a pier in a sleepy little corner of the country. The answer to my question, of course, is why the hell not?!

Yarn Bombing is a form of Guerrilla Artwork, just like Graffiti (Banksy style), it started years ago, about 2004 and if you spend a little time on Google Images you can see some amazing examples, including a bus stop adorned with a huge bobble hat - now that's my kind of art!

I popped to Saltburn Pier to have a look and was absolutely astounded. Metres and metres of knitted dolls, participating in Olympic Sports. The whole thing is a celebration of the Olympics in fact, with medals, Olympic rings, the opening and closing ceremonies and of course the Olympic Torch. I took a couple of pictures but it was dark - I highly recommend if your within a commutable distance you go see it - it's truly amazing.

Have you got any examples of Yarn Bombing near to where you live?

Nanna Kate X

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Revlon Haul

I've been reviewing!

I got Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain and Balm in Forbidden along with their Top Speed Nail Colour in Hazy in a recent supermarket sweep around Boots.

What can I say, except I am now a huge Revlon convert and I can't wait to buy both products in EVERY colour!

What do you think of Revlon? Are you a fan of their Lip and Nail products?

Nanna Kate X

Box Off!

I decided to subscribe to two new boxes this month because I had discount codes for both and couldn't pick.

The first box, from She Said Beauty was their first box in the beauty box world. I was so excited as I'd read that first boxes were supposed to be 'epic'. Here's what I got:

Overall I was much MORE impressed with She Said Beauty than I was with Glossybox, the contents were far more appropriate for me personally as I am not really 'in' to anti-aging products, and this box was packed with lots of younger, on trend products. The Orly Mini Manicures Nail Polish is such a cute colour - it's a mix between denim and mint green - in fact, it's very similar to the colour of the beauty box! I like the fact that there was an Orly nail file in the box too, though the grain was far too coarse for me, so I have given it away to a friend.

I also liked that there was a flowering dragon eye tea in the box, a nice little touch to brew whilst unpacking the box contents... The Aveda haircare products were lovely and everyone has commented on my hair since I used them, but I just think that the trial sizes were so small, I wouldn't be able to make a judgement on them which is a bit of a shame!!

The Comfort Zone was a really nice touch - a little night time kit for skin - that doesn't have any mention of wrinkles! Fab, and the serum may have required an aeronautical degree to open, but it smells like drops of heaven!

I LOVED the fact that inside there was a nest type filling - it made me think of Easter, especially with the pink and blue coloured packaging. It made me happy and excited to try out the Spring Orly colour on my nails.

Like most bloggers, I was kind of disappointed by the Collection 2000 Cream Puff lip creme. Not because it's a cheap 'drugstore' brand, because despite that fact it's a gorgeous designed package and the product seems quite innovative. I was just disappointed with the colour - it's really not in right now and I think had it been a nude I would have been really excited to try it. As it is - I have given this away to a friend too.

The following day my Carmine box arrived...

Now, there was a flurry of controversy surrounding this one, as they'd had a big influx of subscribers in February and so they had to give some old favourite products to new subscribers (that meant me). So, I got some stuff which has already been blogged to death about...

Don't get me wrong, I was excited by the products that the box included and they were WAYYYYY more age appropriate than the other beauty boxes - BUT and it was a big but, I am a little annoyed that it wasn't a surprise and instead just a replication of what I've already seen on the site.

I guess for me now that I have experienced the majority of the beauty boxes, I can safely say, the girls at She Said Beauty and Carmine have got the product picks down to a fine art. But, I was gutted I didn't get to try some of the newer products from Carmine, and I think I will keep the tenner per box in my pocket and mix and match my own cosmetic purchases to inject some freshness onto my beauty shelf!

Did you try She Said Beauty or Carmine? What's your opinion!?

Nanna Kate X