Monday, 26 January 2015

A Starter Scrapbooker

I've wanted to start scrapbooking for aaaages because I have so many nice photos that I could do more with than just sticking them on Facebook. So I took the plunge during the January sales and order a shed load of inks, glue and stamps from HobbyCraft at a very reasonable price.

I've just started doing what I want to and I'm trying not to panic that something's going to be in the wrong place because it's my first go. I'm also the queen of clumsiness and am bound to knock something over or fudge it up somewhere. Safe to say, the bottom of my scrapbook is slightly blue from where it slipped onto the ink pad on my lap.

I've chosen to make this scrapbook with photos from our holiday to Disneyland Paris because they're some of the best photos I have and make me happy. Because the book is only small and my photos are big and square I've decided to go with 1 photo per double page to keep it minimalistic. I love how rustic stamping looks and it definitely covers up when I mis-stamp.

I didn't even think about the brown pages when I bought the blank book! But it is cool to see how well colour turns up on it, especially the metallics. As well as stamps I also have washi tape to give that a go, I'm thinking some geometric patterns...

I'd like to keep you updated with my scrapbook progress but I also want to hear your layout ideas! Give me your thoughts, exeperts!

Friday, 23 January 2015

I have the most amazing news!

So I was in work on Monday, when I get a 'No Caller ID'  call but I thought I'd best answer it and she says:

'Hi, I'm calling from Channel 4 on behalf of Sunday Brunch. Congratulations, you have won a holiday for 10 nights to St Lucia.'


*One week earlier*
I was lazing in bed watching a little Sunday Brunch, when the ads were coming on and up flashed the competition for St Lucia and I thought 'You know what, I do want to go there,"Glynn pass me my phone!"' Half asleep Glynn passess the phone, I tap in BRUNCH20 and the rest is now history.

Literally the greatest moment in my recent life! Yes, yes, people do actually win those things. I couldn't stop shaking and skipping around the office, desperate for more details.Turns out it's all-inclusive, 6 restaurants, complimentary watersports, BEACHFRONT ROOM!

I couldn't think of anything better to happen to me right now, it's literally a dream come true because there is no way Glynn and I could afford to go somewhere like that anytime soon.

I had to share my news because I had posts planned for the week but I've been the busiest bee I haven't had the chance to sit down and write properly. Hopefully will be back on track at the weekend.

Right now I'm going to leave you all seething with jealousy.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Make your own Polaroid pictures

Hands up if you're one of those people who wants a little Diana camera that only takes photos lomography style or a Polaroid camera with the ridiculously expensive film. Guilty! For Christmas this year I originally requested a cute SELPHY printer because I thought it'd print cute little photos. But when it came to actually getting it I panicked and thought what if my big printer/scanner/copier could actually do the job?!

Here's my new plan, take big, crisp, professional looking photos on my DSLR and then do whatever the heck I want with them and print them on my big printer. What I really want is adroable square Polaroid pics and this is how we do it:

Truth is, you can throw a stick and hit a photo editing programme these days. My editor of choice is Picasa because it's easy, free and does the job. There is no need for getting all technical with Photoshop. Take the photo you want, first things first, crop it into a square. There should be a setting, often called 'CD' as though you were making a CD case.

Now for the fun bit, Picasa has a load of presets such as Lomo-ish, HDR-sh... etc but it also has plenty of sliders and other options so you can get your photo exactly the way you want. Whether you want to it to look faded and old or have a pink tint to it.




Now what you need to get yourself is normal photo paper (either 6 x 4 or 7 x 5) and pop it in vertically into your printer. Now my printer doesn't seem to even need photo ink, as long as I tell it that it's using glossy paper.

Settings to make sure of are Full page, Shrink to Fit and then obviously the correct paper size and have glossy paper selected. Play around with the options on whatever software you're using. Make sure you can see the print preview, as you may need to adjust the orientation (portrait/landscape) to make sure it's the right way round. What you want is for the remaining white paper to be underneath your photo. It doesn't matter if there's some on top because we're going to trim that off.

Cut off the top white part leaving a small white border, if you're doing a few it's best to use a guillotine. The bottom is then free for you to write on or do whatever you want!

And there you have it! Makeshift Polaroids, you can string them all up on fairy lights, pin them to a corkboard or my plan is to use them in my first scrapbook.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Berlin Part 2.

Berlin Zoo is one of the weirdest places. We walked through the gate and I thought a rhino was on the loose. Basically, quite a few of the enclosures didn't have fences but big ditches and water so you would be standing level with an elephant.

There were several animal houses that were surprisingly huge! I thought I'd got to the end and then there would be even more animals! I got to see plenty of animals that I'd never seen such as gorillas, hippos and weird black squirrels. I found them so terrifying and I think I'd quite happily never see one again. It really didn't help that some idiot put his knuckles up against the glass and was clearly intimidating the alpha silverback who you could hearing growling through the glass. How mean!

My favourite part may well have been the petting zoo. I know we get goats at home but it's not often I get to pet one. Safe to say they're greedy buggers. They don't even wait for you to get the pellets from the machine. That photo was me being ambushed by two goats I did not intend on feeding.

They even had an awesome bird house with Australian and rainforest freeflight zones which you could walk through. Spot the budgies!

This photo makes my heart break a little bit. With such remarkable, exotic animals everywhere you forget that you're in the middle of the city which is not the place for such beautiful creatures.

Who can say they've been up close to a penguin. I swear there was no sign that I saw that said 'do not touch', so what else are you going to do when they're right there!

They also had house of all cat like creatures. The lions were immense and again I felt they were a little too close for comfort. The sad thing is, the two male lions were riling each other up and roaring but it was upsetting all the other animals because of course they could hear danger and so they wouldn't stop running around. There was also a nocturnal section downstairs in this cat house, with spring hares and fennec foxes, which were gorgeous, but I was so freaked out by the roaring I felt as though the lion were right behind me and needed to get out!

Isn't this the cutest thing you have ever seen in your life! Sorry I didn't stand and look at them more. This is a sand dune cat and it is essentially a giant kitten that lives in the desert. They're about the size of a cushion and they're ridiculously adorable. Wish I could have taken one home!

For a few extra euros you could also pop into the aquarium, which was well worth it to be fair. They had fish from the swamps that were almost the size of a sofa and a simple puffer fish who just liked to rub himself on the glass. As well as that, there were lizards, tortoises, crocodiles and loads of gross insects.

If you've got a day to spare in Berlin, the zoo is worth a look. It took us all day to get around and I'm not entirely sure we got to see everything but I would definitely go again!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Water Challenge

I have a big hate-hate relationship with my skin most of the time but lately it has taken the biscuit. I think due to stress and then being run down and ill on top of that I now have full blown acne, with scabs and sores and everything. Apart from it being gross and unsightly, it's also very painful. I'm currently on antibiotics for sinusitis and feel as though I'm on the road to recovery from being sick so I want to make an effort to help my skin to clear up. If it was completely clear I'd die of happiness, seeing as I've always had at least one spot since I was 14, but how I'm feeling right now, I would kill to have one normal spot.

Here's the plan:
Models and general beautiful people always bang on about the importance of water and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I probably don't take in enough liquid, never mind water. So I'm going to try and stick to one tea/hot chocolate a day and every other drink will be juice, green tea and lots of water. More water than necessary. Chill out on the caffeine and dairy and stay hydrated!

Going to also try probiotic supplements to get my digestion on track because I hear that that is very good for your skin. And next week it's back to exercising, which I've neglected the last two weeks with the funny opening times and not being well. I'll post an update in a couple of weeks and see how I've got on!