Saturday, 29 January 2011

Week #4 of my NEW52 life ...

For the longest time this week, I had no idea what my "new" was going to be. But then, without even trying, three "news" came along in quick succession.

I was once asked to describe my digi-scrapping style. I really struggled with the question ... was I a minimalist? Not exactly. Did I focus on journaling? Definitely not. I really didn't know how to describe my style at all! I took a stroll through my gallery and it became clear that whilst I used patterned papers, I did so VERY sparingly. Just the odd strip or block of paper here and there. There were virtually NO pages where I'd used a patterned paper as the main focus. That was about to change.

Now I'm very, VERY lucky to be part of the creative team for Fei-Fei's Stuff, and this week, Shaui's been in the Designer Spotlight over at Oscraps. As part of her week of fun and games, Shaui set a brilliant challenge to scrap a double page layout AND make patterned paper the main background element .... whaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

Here's what I came up with ...

click here for credits

Food. Again. I knew when I started this year long experience, that food was going to play a BIG part ... after all there are sooooooo many possibilities aren't there? This week I tried out Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals recipe for Cheat's Pizza. Here's how mine looked ...

Pretty cool huh? (It looked even better once I added some freshly torn basil leaves). The only downside was the state of my kitchen during / after the cooking!

This was my favourite new of the week. Now I make no secret of the fact that I ♥ champagne! I've been lucky enough to have tried Moet & Chandon, Taittinger, Bollinger and even Dom Perignon (that was a wedding anniversary present a few years ago). But the "daddy" of all champagnes, the "blingest", the most "celeb" of them all has to be Louis Roederer's Cristal champagne. DH & I had thought about buying a bottle for a while now, so when DH put it on his Christmas Wish List, it seemed the perfect excuse to splash out and treat him (& me of course!)

We didn't drink it at Christmas or New Year's, we didn't even drink it in celebration of DH's birthday earlier in the week. Nope. The bottle just sat in our fridge and teased & taunted me every time I opened the door ... until TODAY! Today, we popped the cork and poured ourselves a glass of the most expensive drink we've ever had!!!

And it was worth every.single.pound (not penny, POUND!)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Slangevar ...

Happy Burns night everyone ... have you had your haggis, neeps & tatties this evening? And of course, not forgetting a wee swally for good health? Slangevar!!! (oh by the way, that means "cheers!" in Gaelic / Scottish) ...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Spotlight on Fei-Fei's Stuff ...

Check out Shaui's blog here
Oscraps Designer Spotlight thread here
Ooooodles of inspiration from the gallery here

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Week #3 of my NEW52 life ...

So here we are at the end of another week and I don't know about you, but the Christmas break seems but a distant memory to me now ~sigh~ how quickly the hum-drum and routine of everyday life grabs control again! Don't get me wrong, I ♥ routine. I'm a creature of habit. I like certain things to happen at certain times. For example; I like to get up & out of bed no more than 10 minutes after my radio alarm has gone off. I like to watch the BBC news whilst eating my breakfast. I don't drink tea after 4pm and I'm nearly always in bed by about 10pm. I would never normally consider going out for dinner on a #gasp# school night! But then the whole concept behind NEW52 is, as you know, to try something new each week. And so on Wednesday night, DH and I did just that.

We went out for dinner at Blue Ginger, an Indian restaurant recommended to me by a colleague at work. It's quite a small place, perhaps only seating 40 people, but the staff were really friendly and the service was excellent. Within 10minutes of arriving we were sipping our drinks and nibbling on crunchy poppadoms & assorted chutneys ...

As usual, trying to decide what to order from the menu was a challenge, there was a fabulous selection to choose from. DH thumbed through a couple of times ...

... before finally deciding to order the chicken nawabi (new for DH) and I ordered king prawn lajawab (new for me) ...

... both were truly delicious and very VERY filling! On a side note, how kitsch is that tomato rose in the photo above? I haven't seen one of those served as a garnish since the early 1980's!!! And on another side note, please excuse the quality of the photos. I only had my mobile phone with me and the lighting wasn't exactly conducive for taking good shots of the food!

Anyhoo, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening out and thanks to some good planning and forward thinking on my part, we were home by 10pm and I was tucked up in bed and snooozing by 10:45pm ... my routine only slightly altered and normal service quickly restored ;-)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Week #2 of my NEW52 life ...

It's the end of week #2, although technically I think it's more like the start of week #3 but seeing as my "new's" tend to happen at the weekends, I guess I'm always going to be a tad bit behind .... story of my life!

My NEW for this week is more of a re-new rather than a brand new (is that cheating?). DH & I have decided to re-new our monthly movie nights. Yiiiiippeeee! Now, whether we go out to the cinema to watch a new movie or we decide to stay home and watch a DVD, depends on a) what's on at the local cinema, and b) how our finances are doing that month (why does it cost sooooo much to go to the cinema these days?).

Anyhoo, we kicked off our re-newed movie nights last night and with it being January, and money being a bit tight (getting paid before Christmas and then having to wait almost 6 weeks 'til the next pay day ain't good folks!), we decided to stay home and watch a DVD ... BUT ... to make things more authentic, we recreated the whole cinema experience! The furniture was re-arranged and the sofa positioned directly in front of the TV (our lovely 37" Pioneer plasma screen ~sigh~), our DVD was linked up through the surround sound speaker system (AMAZING clarity & volume!) and of course the choice of snacks & beverages were suitably cinema-like (burgers, popcorn, M&M's, chips 'n' dips & bottles of beer).



We had a fabulous night, though I think I ate too much popcorn ... but hey, you can't have a movie night without popcorn, can you? Oh, and in case you're wondering ... we watched Ocean's Eleven (you really can't beat a bit of George & Brad on a Friday night!)

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Week #1 of my NEW52 life ...

Here we are my dear friends, the end of the first week of the New Year (question: at what point does the year stop being referred to as "New" and just become "the year"?) and I wish I could write that it had been full of new and exciting opportunities, new sights, sounds, smells and flavours! All those may come throughout the year, but this first week was rather more routine. It was a case of getting back into the swing of things following the festive break. Of waking up with the alarm clock, of getting to work on time, of making it through the working day and of the commute home in the evening. All these things are good though, for whilst they may not scream of adventure, they do at least mean that I'm working and earning pennies, which in turn means comfort and security at home.

So right about now, you're probably thinking that week #1 held nothing new for me, right? Well, wrong! My "new" for this week actually happened just today ... I joined my local library! I can hear Peppermint & Helen both taking a sharp intake of breath at this point, followed by a shout of "what the heck took you so long?". Both have hailed the virtues of their library's hallowed halls, both I know regularly visit and partake of the ritual that is finding the right book, spending minutes, if not even hours soaking up the ambiance, then rushing home with their precious packages of joy, thrill, romance, biography or practical learning. Of savouring the precious quiet moments, opening the cover and absorbing all those words as they float off the pages, all the while with a sense of righteousness and possibly, just possibly, the slightest hint of smugness, that all this enjoyment is theirs for the princely sum of zero pounds & zero pence (or dollars & cents if you prefer), albeit if only for the next 3 weeks.

This is my new library card.

Cute toucans don't you think? I'm guessing that some of you will want to know which book / books I borrowed today. Well, I borrowed just one (I'm a library newbie after all and didn't want to seem greedy!) and it's a book about black and white photography in the digital age. It's easy to read, has great photos (as you'd expect) and best of all, it has step-by-step instructions on how to achieve the kind of effects they write about. In short, it's my kind of book.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year resolutions aren't my style ...

So here we are at the start of a brand spanking new year. Ahead of us lie endless possibilities, countless opportunities and bucket loads of creativity, right? Well yes, but I can honestly say that can't remember the last time I made any New Year resolutions. It's not that I think I'm perfect and that nothing needs to change. Far from it in fact. It's more that all my good intentions made on 1st January, are thrown out of the nearest window by the 15th! It's not that I lack will-power either. It's just that I get bored and distracted easily. Now if only there were some kind of project that could encourage me to try something new, could motivate me to broaden my horizons, to develop new skills, to actually LIVE life rather than just dream about it. Oh, if only there were such a thing ...

Well guess what? There is ... there's NEW52 ... an idea conceived by Christine (Listgirl Designs) and Peppermint (One Little Bird). It's aim is simple ... to try something new each & every week of 2011. It doesn't have to be a BIG, life-changing "new", it could be something as simple as trying a new flavour of soup for lunch or changing the colour of your eye-shadow. But it could be something big, something like a new job, a new home or a new love! Whatever your "new" thing is, document it. Blog about it, Tweet about it, journal about it and maybe, just maybe, scrap about it.

So this is it. This is me going public and committing to NEW52 throughout 2011. I'm really looking forward to sharing all my "news" with you and I hope that if, somewhere along the way, you decide to join in, you too will share your "news" with me. If you're interested in learning more about NEW52 then you'd be a wise person to check out both Peppermint's & Christine's blogs. Both of which I hope will inspire you to try something NEW this year!