30 Nov 2011

Pinterest love

If you haven't heard of Pinterest, I'd like to know where you have been hiding for the last year or so. You could say that I'm a little obsessed with it. If you REALLY don't know what it is well let me tell you. Its a virtual pin board. A place to pin all your fave pictures and links to website in a secure little nugget online. So rather than right clicking on a pic and stuffing up your hard drive with pics you might take an age to find in future, you clip the images you love to a pin board for all to see too.
**that was exhausting!**

Here is a pick of some of my fave things recently:
From my Dachshund collection:
You know me and dachshunds, right?



From my Italy collection:
I love Italy so much. I'd move there immediately, given the chance





From my "Nom" collection:
Not exactly good for me right now as Im watching my diet but hey ho.







From my fave clothes collection:
I see some pretty awesome dresses and shoes on this site. **could cry, cos I want them all**




Source: amazon.com via Kirsty on Pinterest




From my "in love with" collection:
Just odds and sods I have found and loved


Source: etsy.com via Kirsty on Pinterest






From my fave Photo ideas collection:
Lovely images to drool over





From my quotes collection:
Im sure I am the biggest hoarder of quotes in the whole of Pinterest, if not the world.

Source: relatableblog.com via Kirsty on Pinterest


Are you a member? Link me to your fave things or board.

Love
Kirsty x
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28 Nov 2011

Zumba - ouchie!

So after last weeks Salsa class fiasco, I was determined to get some latin dancing in my routine, somewhere. I couldn't wait a week for the next class so last Weds I found a local class, more close to home than the salsa class place. I rang the venue to make sure the class was still on and she said "you are in luck and that there was a place for me".

"HEY? Waddya mean, a place for me?" I thought!!!

Well, all became clear when I turned up and found that the ceiling numbers for Zumba was 150. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY? Holy crap, I have never been to a fitness class with more than 25 girls, tops. But there it was, 138 of us in a massive gymnasium and in the dark and shaking our booty's (and other wobbly limbs) to Latino beats.
I LOVED IT.
In fact, I loved it so much I bought the Wii Zumba disc on Friday and I tried it out last night. And this morning? OUCH. I ache in places I didn't know muscles exist. Its a serious work out but in all honesty its not much of a work out - more of a dance and a couple of twists and hip swishes and yet somehow your body is getting a beating!. Most of all, its such a laugh watching my body do the opposite of the trainer on the TV (must master my co-ordination and quick!) I thoroughly recommend it.
All this on top of trying out a new eating regime. I am carb sensitive, I know this because if I cut out carbs, the weight drops off me. I usually follow an Atkins style regime but all those oils and fats are NOT good and that's what puts me off sticking to it. Then I heard about the Harcombe diet from my friend Rubina so I gave it a go, finally, today. Its a little tricky, mainly due to suffering withdrawal from sugars and fats; you know, the crap that promote insulin and makes up crave more of the same. I'll keep you informed on how its coming along.

Lastly, a card for on of my friends who needs a little "pick me up".
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Hope she likes it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Love
Kirsty x
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27 Nov 2011

Celebrations

This weekend has been a full weekend of celebration. Belles 16th birthday treat was all her own decision and she opted to go to Giraffe at the Trafford Centre. For the past 7 years she has always gone to Frankie and Benny's. I thought we would be doing the same this year; I got pretty used to it. But when she chose Giraffe, I kind of gasped!

I did take lots of piccies on my little point and shoot but can I find that damn thing? NO! Its somewhere in this house as we also used it to film the lighting of the lantern (HILARIOUS) and the lighting of the fountain sparklers on her cake at home on Saturday night (HILARIOUS). The lantern event almost had Mark set alight and the fountain sparklers almost ignited the entire house (and give my Mother a heart attack in the process). Oh how we laughed.

I'll find that rascally Canon Ixus (the size of a matchbox, almost) and share those pictures soon.

In the mean time, here are some other little pics of Belles with some of her balloons. Ellie loves balloons. I pepped her up after a little sorrow came across our hearts this afternoon. It was so sad when my parents left to go home; having them over is such a comfort to me. Ellie is such a family girl too and as soon as everyone left this afternoon, we looked at each other and frowned - hence a little fun shoot. The light was so dim this afternoon so I had to crank up that lifesaving ISO. Not ideal but who cares? The 85mm lens is a little bit of a life saver, me thinks.
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There is still some cake left and the balloons are well inflated so who knows how long the celebrations could last for, hmmmmm?

Finally, another card for my growing list of cards. I like this one, I used four of my new fave Tonic Punches - they compliment each other so well. You can see them here, here, here and here
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Only another 28573276574375290 to make. Best get cracking x

Love
Kirsty x
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25 Nov 2011

Todays is her day!

Aaaaaaw! Sweet 16, Happy Birthday Ellie.
Here is her card from us. No pink frills but instead lovely autumnal colours to brighten her morning.
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Belles will be having her usual chocolate for breakfast followed with opening cards and gifts. She has had a LOT of cards this year and I've a feeling that most of them are from our friends - thank you!). This year we bought her an iTouch as she loves to hog my phone for all the free apps. So whilst she NEVER uses a mobile (no child of mine!), she will get the luxury of having the apps she loves to play with on her own iTouch. Fruit Ninja is my current fave as well as SleepCycle (although that is not a game).

Lastly, here is a christmas card using that fabulous Tonic Studios geared punch (you know these babies go through 400gsm cardstock without sticking, Hmmmmm? Mezzin!).
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Its also peppered with teeny butterfly punches too, to add a little pretty pretty.
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Just another make to add to my growing pile of crimbo cards.

23 Nov 2011

Her official 16th Photo

Belles isn't 16 until Friday although, technically, she was due on the 23rd November - so its kind of ok for me to post this
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Im not sorry for gushing about it. I do believe this is the best photo I have taken of her EVER. And this is the only decent shot out of 89 because she does blink a lot due to her photophobia. It was taken at 3.30 this afternoon when the light was exponentially low. I had to use a reflector to get the catchlights and rely on RAW settings so that I could tweak with "bringing back good light" even though there was hardly any in the first place. 3.30pm in the UK is ridiculous light, if you didn't know already. Plus the 100mm macro lens works a treat for my girl as the lens wasn't shoved right in her mush (er, I mean extremely beautiful, unaffected face!). I cannot recommend that lens enough even though it stops at F2.8 - its good enough for me.

If you need a portrait photo of your or your loved ones, I can squeeze a few days in before Christmas. Just click this link here.

22 Nov 2011

Hmmmm, Salsa

I went to a Salsa class tonight because I couldn't face swimming today (too cold - brrrrrr). I don't know what I was thinking but I wasn't expecting "lonely hearts" club and dancing with strangers. I mean, I'm totally up for having a go but I think I was expecting more of a line dancing style of salsa. Awkward! I stayed for the whole session and danced between 4 sets of fella's (and no, Mark did not come with me - hello? Two left feet!) before I bolted out of the door. Instead, next week, I shall go to Zumba. To be fair, it was a good workout but I don't think I will be going back.

I've totally got myself in the training zone and so tomorrow Im going to try Gillian Michaels 30 Day shred before I do my C25K and maybe a gentle swim (And that's just for my arms!). I know its a lot of training but I'm allowing myself 2 days full on exercise with a rest day, although the rest day will be a huge doggy walk to keep the lactic acid from settling on my joints. I love it when I'm focused. I also love my meal plans that I have opted for until I start a more strict regime come the beginning of December. Man, I hope I don't trip down that spiral of losing the momentum.

Im finishing off this post with a card made using my Christmas bauble text thingymajigs. Not exactly conventional colours for Christmas but who the hell cares? Red, Gold and Green is not the law.
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Going to go and massage my hips, they ache a bit from all that crazy salsa-dom.

Pick and mix

This blog post is a real cacophony of happenings so you might want to grab a nice drink, something carb infused to keep you awake and maybe book the day off work? !!

Lets start with some crafty stuff Ive been finishing off. This card, for starters. Ive been working on this for a week because I couldn't decided what to put between the two swallows. Honest, I was struggling but I knew I wanted to savour the pain so that I would be completely happy once I had found that "something". Cue one of Timmykins quote stamps.
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I love this card and yes, that's probably quite a vain thing to say but sometimes you just love a certain project now and again - one that you are so chuffed with you feel you could conquer the world with it. Well, not the world but maybe a small country.

Talking of which, that's how I feel about my body right now (the size of Bolivia, I'm guessing). If you have followed this blog from the beginning you will note that I go through fits and starts with exercise. I really go for it when I start but I just lose momentum. Maybe injury prevents me carrying on or the cold weather interferes or perhaps I get a spell of work which demands more of "me". I HATE IT when I lose the momentum. I fall down that spiralling pit of "giving up" so many times. And tonight, this attempt maybe number 845765637291294375 to restart but sod it, Im focused for the time being. Tonight I started C25K again but the best bit about tonight's efforts was my timing. I shaved 1 minute and 30 seconds from when I started it in September. I wore better trainers plus I ran in the rain. I LOVE RUNNING IN THE RAIN. I wrapped up, slung on by bestest support bra (v. important in my opinion) and tuned up with Muse, The Killers and Manic Street Preachers. I ran like hell fire and whilst it hurt, it also felt good. **Masochist, right?!** I just don't fancy going on QVC after Christmas looking like I ate all the turkey, you know?
I came home, cooled down and then put the finishing touches on this layout that has also sat in my desk since the end of Sept. What is wrong with me? I used the rest of some papers I had from some QVC prep work and this ribbon used to belong on one of Ellie's wall art projects that we have dismantled. No way was I wasting it and luckily, it fit across the paper that had been lovingly stuck on there for 7 weeks. Another layout for the album.
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Ruffling that ribbon and making it stay put - well, that took some doing!
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And so to tomorrow. Ive got the final part of my "Life is Beautiful" instalment to wrap up and then I'm off swimming at lunchtime. I'm figuring that running one day and swimming the next is going to be a good routine until I get my head around sorting out a good eating regime. I do really well on a carb free diet but i get so BORED of it after 3 months. Ive read about the Harcombe diet which does embrace fruits and yoghurt whilst low carbing. Ive def got to investigate it.

The rest of the week has a bunch of mixed emotions for me. Ellie turns 16 on Friday **blub**
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but on Thursday sees her annual review of her statement. I am NOT looking forward to it. I struggle to get my point across without looking like a desperate/screaming/paranoid/unfit/neurotic mother. All these heads of educational sectors staring at me for being the woman who dares to speak up. Its all quite petrifying, really. I do believe the school do the best they can but frankly, its because of the lack of funds that kids, like Ellie, get a totally bum deal. I'm not sure what the magical thing is to do other than keep fighting her corner but as its her last year of school, i kind of think everyones shoulders are sloping and that her future will be blighted by even more turmoil in the services she **could** have access to. I could literally cry for that kid, I really could. It hurts so much that I can feel my heart cracking in all directions and that my chest is about to explode from frustration - other than being protective of my little cub, I'm pretty much helpless :(

Finally. Macchu Piccu. **sigh, isn't it majestic?**
I'm going to start boosting the funds for this event, of which I'm going to walk the Inca Trail, in Peru in order to raise money for the NGVFA (if you look to the left of this post, you will see my Just Giving sponsor page, looking pretty low funded right now). I'm paying for myself to go but I do want to raise £5000 for this worthwhile cause. I will be walking 17miles one day, stay overnight with spiders as big as my arms and leeches sucking all my blood before I trail 17 miles back the next day **bluergh, I will wear long sleeves, hoodies, hats, gloves and elastic bands at every end of my tops and walking pants to prevent buggage crawling into my crevices**. I'm trying so hard to come up with some good ideas (and in light of the fundraiser I did this year, for Daisy Dog, I'm reluctant to approach all those marvellous people again for donations as prizes). The season of austerity is making me lose my confidence so other than shaving my head, I'm thinking of ways to raise this money. I **did** think of selling off all my lovely handmade cards or bundle up some of my own stash to sell but man, I suck at coming up with some ideas. So if you know of any, please leave a comment so that I can get a shufty on!

20 Nov 2011

Free Weekend

Man I have LOVED this weekend. I have not had a free FREE weekend with my guys since May. **sigh**

Yest I managed a photoshoot in the morning, literally less than a mile from home before I set sail to Manchester with my Mother-in-law, Beth and Marie to check out the AMAZING European market stalls before going on our Groupon founded chocolate course. WE had such a great time where I mastered the finer things about chocolate crafting. Its not exactly chocolate making as only Belgian manufacturers do that. Instead we crafted it making a velvety ganache centre and learning how to decorate it as well as tempering the choc to go on the ganache. We also learned about crafting chocolates crisps and flakes and flavourings which means, OBVS, that everyone I know will be getting hand crafted chockies from now on. There is very little skill to it - melt couveture, temper it and decorate your "centres"- simples. I think the worst thing about it is holding back from licking your fingers every 3 seconds.

I took my little point and shoot to capture the event (thankfully, as it was drenched in chocolate and I proper mean that!)
Here is my MIL and Beth

After we all mixed the ganache into a velvety truffly paste, we had to pipe loooooooong lengths of it (And yes, it really does look like poop!)

Oh we laughed so hard at our efforts to strain this stuff out - it was hard going! We piped the ganache before we moulded it with our hands. Our foursome had fits of laughter about the whole debacle; childlike but fun, you know?

Of course, it didn't taste like poop, you know!

After rolling the ganache into balls, both mine and Marie's hands were pretty chocolate-less than most peoples! **I admit to having copious tastes tests, for quality purposes of course ;)**

Beths balls looked furry, for some reason?!

Our freshly rolled balls!

These ones are ready for tempered choc

And toppings were added afterwards

Don't they look delectable?

And kind of designer?

Laughing at these crazy kids - highly recommended!

And then today. Man, it was a toughy. Belles bedroom is almost complete as we make way for her 16th this Friday. We want her to have a more "grown up" look which meant turfing out all the stuff she never played/plays with as well as slinging out old videos, DVD's and books. It would be ideal to eBay the lot but time is precious here at Chez Wiseman and our thoughts turn to families who could do with some "cared" for goods at a good price whilst a charity shop reap the rewards into the bargain. Win-win for all. I did NOT take pictures during this 4 hour event as it was hard work asking Ellie "Treasure, Treat or Trash" over and over again - basically keep, donate or throw away. It pained Ellie to do this but space has been somewhat lacking recently and things needed to go. She did keep a lot of books and as we have installed a better storage system in her room, she has plenty of space to put her books and in a place where she can reach (before they were in a cupboard on a high shelf - not ideal). She loves her new space, she keeps wandering upstairs to admire it. But its not done yet as I have a mural to start on one of the walls plus a little more titivating before its fully complete.

Tonight we had guests round for a meal. It was my Father-in-Laws birthday so I offered to make a meal. Home made curry (from scratch!) was the order of the day and it happens to be one of Ellies new favourite meals. She got really involved with making it and preparing all the ingredients for me - a real good sign of her growing up. She took it all in and wants to have a go at making one on her own one day. **hope its soon!**

And so to tonight, all snug on the sofa, cuddled up with Mark. Ellies is def a Momma's girl but recently she has been laying by Mark's side.

It's another sign of her making changes in her life. Its a good thing, right?

**Don't forget, 4th December I'm holding a FULL day workshop at Paperarts in Gloucester. See the blog post below, dated 18th Nov, for more info**

19 Nov 2011

It's been a while

I even had to dust off my Cameras. I just haven't taken photos for AGES since other work commitments took over. Even worse, I've had to re-direct clients to other photographers in my area because of it. Boo hoo. But at least I can pick and choose shoots when Im free and today? I was FREE!

This is Harry - isn't he Mr 'Tude?
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This is Sharon, Harry and Isobel
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Isobel being swung by Momma
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Isobel admiring her reflection with her BEAUTIFUL pink shoes
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Harry being tickled by Momma
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Harry and Isobel on a RARE and I mean RARE Bro and Sis snug. They did NOT want to perform today!!!!
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Dear Canon with your safety distance of 100mm (ie - not in your mush), I love you and I am sorry I neglected you so.

Kirsty x