Rise to the challenge (summer journal/photo a day)

PHOTO-A-DAY-JULY-1024x1024In case any of you want to join in with the photo a day challenge, as well as the above image you can see the initial blogger’s post about it here. It would be great if you could join in, it’s actually a lot of fun and has made me look at things a little differently so you may enjoy it too!


It’s the last entry for July’s photo a day, with the hint ‘rise’. I was planning on doing some baking to portray it but realised that my culinary prowess is awol and my ‘tasty’ treats haven’t risen the past few times. I decided to introduce our other cat, who until now has remained elusive on the blog. The reason I have chosen this picture is due to the fact he is perched high up on a chair and has a need to be always taller and rise himself up so he is able to spectate on everyone else. (mainly our other cat, Bonaparte…) Bit of an odd entry I know, but my logic is on holiday today. This furry feline is a lot older than Boney and in our opinion, bears a striking resemblance to a famous historical tyrant. You are more than welcome to suggest who this might be and hopefully restore faith in our own sanity by agreeing!


Today’s summer journal prompt is: “Set 3 goals for next month – these can be home/work/art/journal related – or choose another aspect of your life”

1. Make my OH’s dice bag I have been meaning to make for ages. I have been putting this off for a while, mainly because I have never made a drawstring bag before, but I need to get on with it as it’s his birthday in under two weeks and I promised he would have it for then.

2. There is a festival being held at Bosworth field for the 529th anniversary of the War of the roses battle which we would both really love to go to. In connection with that, there is also a Richard III visitor centre that has just opened in Leicester that would be great to go to as well. At the anniversary event, there is a reenactment, a jousting show, medieval market/games/dancing, falconry, 15th century fashion show, fire power show and an arming of the knights display. It is not long after OH’s birthday either so hopefully we will get to go to celebrate it.

3. The kitchen being a building site has made it quite difficult to cook for long periods of time which is a shame because I normally make cakes etc with my stepkid’s when they are off school. So my last goal is to actually do some baking with them over the summer holiday’s, even if it’s something small and quick. It will also be a form of entertainment/distraction from the Xbox for at least 20 minutes!

I hope I will be able to fulfill all of my goals, I also have a long to-do list to accompany these three so I will need to give myself a good boot up the bum 🙂



You learn when you lose (summer journal/photo a day)


I discovered today that I need to pay more attention to my surroundings, certainly as they can help me out with photo a day challenges such as today’s ‘lost’ hint. I have passed this stone Chesterfield style sofa and chair (that looks like it has been severely misplaced), so many times and never really looked at it properly. Turns out it is actually a tribute to local Rugby poets and authors and is also one of a few sofas that come in different styles scattered around the town. Our area’s most famous literary brains are the world war one poet, Rupert Brooke and also Lewis Carroll who studied at Rugby School, but the set of stone books in the second photo however, are in tribute to Philip Toynbee, who was a writer/journalist and I must admit one I had never really heard of. Seeing this has certainly spurred my interest in finding more out about him though 🙂


Today’s summer journal prompt is: “What was the most difficult thing you have ever learnt to do?”

There are way too many potential answers for this question so aside from obviously very sentimental or personal things like ‘accept that life isn’t fair’, I have chosen three things that I would consider more to be a skill. I will go through them chronologically, so I’m starting with the skill both oldest and challenging…

  • Pattern cutting: At college, I totally loathed this module. I found it so hard to get my head around transferring what a garment on a mannequin looked like onto spot/cross paper and I am certainly not the mathematical mind more favoured in this field. It was very much a just keep on at it situation though because it counted greatly in the points needed to pass and I was not allowed to make the outfits I had designed before becoming at least vaguely competent.
  • Tattooing: I had no idea just how difficult it was to do until I picked up the machine myself. Being naive, I thought as long as I could draw I would be ok and how wrong I was! There are a fair few factors that at the time seemed surprising which seem to be totally logical now I can do it. Most of the machines are actually very heavy, different skin types/tones mean different reactions to the needles and ink pigments, the pressure of only getting one chance at creating a permanent piece of art is immense and most of all, due to the obvious pain involved, an irritated moving canvas’s flinching is not the easiest thing to predict. I would say that aside from obviously the need to be able to draw, developing an instinct in preempting when some poor sod may wince, vomit or pass out is something essential to the job and also incredibly difficult.
  • Coping with a broken body part: Or more to the point, understanding my insulin pump, which is a fairly recent thing in my learning history. It has taken a while to fully get to grips with the technicalities of it, like interpreting what the various alarms/codes mean that can go off when it has a tantrum, adjusting the hourly insulin intake based on calculating to the decimal pointed millimol what I need (that can be effected by anything from the climate to stress levels) and establishing what carbohydrates are in foods which can be a total nightmare. Of all the difficult things Ive got my head around though, this certainly is of course the most important and worthwhile. It paid off massively though because I have learnt to love my little robot pancreas and we now get along swimmingly.

I am hoping that my current learning adventure won’t make it to the next list of hardest lessons and I will be knitting a beard hat in no time 🙂


Late bloomer (summer journal/photo a day)

casting_on[1]Woo! I bit the knitting bullet and casted on for the first time. It coincides well with ‘repeat’ being the hint for the photo a day as well, so double whammy! I have wanted to start for such a long time, but to be honest the talk at the weekend of knitting a beard hat is what has revamped my wanting to give it a go and I really should have tried this years ago. This is all I have done though and I found it quite difficult, but I’m just going to perceive with it and keep trying. If all else fails, I will just moan on here about it 😉


Today’s summer journal prompt is: “List 5 flowers that you love. Are they in your garden? Will they be in your garden? Have they been in your garden? Why are they your favourites?”

1. Sunflowers: It’s no secret that I love these, mainly because they remind me of sunshine itself, but also because of how cheerful and happy I imagine them to be.

2. Blue Delphiniums: We have always associated them with our son.

3. Chrysanthemums yellow and white: As above and also are a part of a poem by A.A.Milne in his ‘now we are six’ book that is dear to my heart.

4. Tiger lilies: Another sentimental one, also have a very cat skin like pattern which is always a positive!

5. Cherry blossoms: Although they seem to be regarded as fairly simple in their look, I love how delicately beautiful they are. I always look forward to seeing them in bloom in the spring.

With so many beauties to choose from, I could have gone on and on with that list. Unfortunately none of these are growing in our garden, only a fuchsia bush (which I am very pleased about) but we do have blue delphinium’s growing in our son’s tribute garden though thankfully. At primary school, we had a sunflower growing competition, which I claimed first prize for with a huge bloom, but my growing prowess was spent on that as I have been nothing but a disaster in trying to keep plants alive since then. Apparently, cherry blossom trees are not difficult to maintain so maybe I should give that a go next. Although I’m not counting on it being a success! 🙂


When cucumbers aren’t cool… (summer journal/photo a day)

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No, I haven’t gone on holiday to Antarctica, but the photo a day hint is ‘cool’ and England is in the middle of a very amazing heatwave! I suppose I could have put a picture of something cool as in awesome totally rad man… ( ahem,*composes self*), but instead went for this which I think was from last year or maybe the one before. Taking full advantage of the snow, as it is about as elusive here as the sunshine gracing us right now, we took an after school dive up to the park and created this snowcat/snowpig hybrid. No, the scarf wasn’t a permanent donation, despite that being suggested by my stepkids 🙂

Today’s summer journal prompt is: “You always keep a well stocked freezer. Today is the day you organise your meals for the week. However, on searching through your stores you discover that ‘miraculously’ all your frozen food has been converted into melon balls. What do you do?”

If this means what I think it means and the freezer has defrosted, then put the majority in the fridge and invite people round for dinner a few nights on the trot. All anyone can do isn’t it? No point letting it go to waste so it would be a good excuse to have a few get together’s. If that’s what it means of course. I am a fan of the odd idiom or two, as well as being pun-tastic at every opportunity, but hadn’t heard of ‘converted into melon balls’ other than the fruit becoming something to get tiddly by, but I have a feeling that that isn’t the meaning. Tips welcomed! 🙂

Starter for ten: (summer journal/photo a day)

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Due to my absence yesterday, I am supposed to be uploading two photo a day’s, with the hints ‘fun’ and ‘ten’. We actually had a really fun BBQ yesterday with our friends so that would have made a brilliant photo for yesterday’s task but I got distracted by stuff I won’t go into, so boo hiss to me. I have decided though that this image should combine the two prompts, being as I started my new project at ten this morning and this is what I do to have fun. I would be very surprised if it can be guessed by this tiny snippet at what the finished design will be, so any suggestions are welcomed 🙂


So, two summer journal prompts today, the first one being: “The answer is “yes!” What is the question?”

I’m not exactly adverse to saying that word so It could be ‘Do you want a cup of tea?’ or ‘Which band made an album called Tormato?’, or a load of other things to be honest. Probably be best to choose a question that I would be most enthusiastically answering ‘yes!’ to, which at this very moment in time would be ‘Do you want to run away to a solitary beautiful island for a while’. That sounds like something I would most likely be answering with a triple yes 🙂

Aaaand… number two… “What was your first meal of the day?”

I’m never hungry in the morning and now I have my insulin pump, I no longer need to have breakfast, so that is always skipped. I only start to get hungry midday so I’ve not long had my first meal, which was 2 pieces of wholemeal toast and 80g of raspberries. Precise, I know but everything gets weighed and I really enjoyed gobbling up these yummy little fruits. I am currently splashing it all down with a cup of decaff coffee (it’s going to be a coffee day today I think) and will start preparing our evening meal in a bit. I have zero ideas on what it will be but I know for a fact that it won’t be as delicious as the barbecued beauties we had yesterday 🙂

Our home is a pig sty (summer journal/photo a day)


‘Home’ is the photo a day hint and this photo shows what has been nailed to our front door for a few years now. We do different postmen asking where our pet pig is, which we all take great pleasure in saying ‘she’s inside’/’I’m here’. Truth is, my nickname is pig, so my OH thought it would be hilarious to buy me this one Christmas, possibly believing it to just be a joke that would end up in a drawer somewhere. But I found it so funny that it has been attached to our door ever since. Obviously coupled with my family, this says home to me and when I can see it I know I am only a few steps away from being in our sty 🙂


Today’s summer journal prompt is: “The room is set – the table is laid. All the preparation is finished and you have handy staff to see to the running of the rest of the evening. Your clothes are new and you look wonderful… You can invite up to 8 guests to enjoy a delicious dinner – who will you choose – from the past or the present?”

I have already answered a similar question via the Liebster award a while ago, but that only included people living today, so with this answer I will give some of my preferred guests from the past. I have tried to pick differently ‘categorised’ people so it’s not too samey (it would be too easy to reel off a list of kings and queens)…

1. The monarch: Queen Anne: Possibly my favourite royal of all time, I would, after seeking permission of course, give her a big cuddle and a shoulder to cry on.

2.The revolutionary: Charles Darwin: I would love to hear all the stories of his adventures in Galapagos and the evolution theorist would always be welcome round for tea and a chat about amazing creatures.

3. The Military: Napoleon Bonaparte: We would need somebody to lead the party and I don’t think my cat would forgive me if I didn’t invite his namesake.

4. The entertainer: Ludwig van Beethoven: My favourite composer, he could provide us all with his beautiful music to natter over.

5. The rebel: Boudicca: Who wouldn’t want the flame haired freedom fighter putting the world to rights at the dinner table?

6. The philosopher: Karl Marx/Friedrich Nietzsche: Yes, I need a slap on the wrist for not being decisive, but I couldn’t choose between these two very controversial yet deeply intelligent minds.

7. The Jack of all trades: Leonardo Da Vinci: As well as being a dab hand with a paintbrush and an astute mathematician, he clearly paved the way for other inventors so possibly would think up something brilliant mid meal and most likely find conversation with everyone.

8. The pacifist: Siddhartha Gautama: Last but by no means least, the enlightened one himself, who I would think be called upon to restore some peace and humanitarianism after a night with a potentially rowdy bunch of guests.

Today’s prompt was actually quite tricky purely because of how much choice there was, it took me a while to pick who I would invite and there were so many people I would love to have dinner with that I think I would need to have a huge party! 🙂

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride… (journal/photoaday)


This is my drowned rat… I mean cat, Bonaparte. He is the perfect candidate for the photo a day hint of ‘water’ following his bath that he just loved. Of course, if sarcasm were understood via typing then this statement would be oozing it being as I have never heard such distressing sounds from an animals mouth. It was a necessity to get him spruced up though as his main pastime of the moment seems to be rolling around in mud/playing in the recycling bin. He had become so filthy that cuddling him had me covered in dirt too and due to his terror and total refusal to comply whenever the cleaning brush comes out, in the bath he had to go. Luckily he wasn’t in too much of a mood, our shoes didn’t get pooed in, but that may have something to do with using Dreamies cat treats as a bribe… 🙂


Today’s summer journal prompt is: “Money can’t buy happiness, but what is the one thing that would make your life easier if you bought it? Maybe it has yet to be invented…”

First off, the serious things that would be pretty useful if I could splash the cash:

1. A decent camera: seeing all you lovely people’s gorgeous photo’s put mine to such shame and I have convinced myself that having a good camera will halt my embarrassing snaps. Although it’s must likely to be a user error anyway.

2. I would be so happy to have a new vacuum cleaner. This is an incredibly pathetic thing I know, but I clean the floor sometimes twice a day (a necessity with 2 cats, 2 stepkids, building work and my OH’s job) and our dear old Henry used to be great, but is becoming less and less useful as time goes on due to old age.

3. Laser tattoo removal: Who doesn’t want to be able to erase some of their past mistakes? Some, (only a couple to be fair) of which are on my skin for all the world to have an opinion on :-/

4. Prescription sunglasses: At the moment, I can either wear my normal glasses and get blinded with glare from the sun, or wear my sunglasses and have blurry vision leading to me possibly getting hit by a bus. Naturally, I choose the first option.

As far as something that is not yet invented, a mind reader would be awfully nice thank you! I’m often told I have a ‘wearing my heart on my sleeve’ mentality, which usually leads to me questioning what other people are thinking and feeling. It’s not through nosiness, just that because I think I’m fairly open with my emotions and sometimes it is easier being aware of other people’s too, so as to know how to behave appropriately around them but mainly because I hate upsetting people. Plus, I would never have to ask ‘Do I look fat in this?’ ever again! 🙂


Judging a book by it’s cover (summer journal/photo a day)


The photo a day hint of ‘macro’ was a tricky one for an even less than awful photographer like myself, so I thought I’d take a photo of something really tiny and hope for the best. My OH paints 28mm miniature models and creates some really beautiful pieces in super small form. I have always been intrigued by this, never really understanding the appeal of it, so a couple of years ago I decided to try it myself and painted up these 5 dwarves. It actually took an awful lot longer than I had anticipated and I was shocked at just how challenging but enjoyable I found it, really calming and it felt incredibly rewarding once they were finished. I’m glad I gave it a go because I can now totally understand and appreciate the appeal and artistry of painting them. I always really enjoy seeing all the beautiful things my OH creates and more often than not am amazed at the amount of detail he can get onto such miniature models.  In this scale, I’ve only ever painted these little men but there are some stunning 28mm figures out there (including Boudicca on her chariot) that would be awesome to try if I was a little more skilled! 🙂


Today’s summer journal prompt: “Light of heavy! What are you reading? What do you like to read? What is the most interesting thing you have ever read?”

I can imagine that a lot of people after me saying this will think I’m from the dark ages, but if I am reading, I read a book, not a gadget. I can appreciate why some people love E-books and the benefits of having one, but actually holding a huge book, turning each page eagerly, is something magical that I would opt for every time. On the whole, I read mainly factual books that couple the enjoyment of reading with the gaining of knowledge which I find more of a buzz than when I have read novels. There are only certain fictional books that I have read and not felt like I should be doing something more lucrative, like Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar saga and The Empire trilogy (I have read ‘Magician’ countless times), Frank Herbert’s Dune, George Orwell’s 1984 and of course, Janet/Allan Ahlberg’s Funnybones! Hehe, couldn’t resist! Our friend lent me Michael J Sullivan’s ‘Theft of swords’ a few months ago though and I really enjoyed that so maybe I need to give fiction another chance. I do want to read ‘Ender’s game’ by Orson Scott Card as I haven’t for years and have forgotten most of it, so maybe that will be my next move on the literary escapism route. For now though, I am still on my Napoleon book, which is by Vincent Cronin, mainly because I haven’t been reading as much as usual recently. I better hurry up with it though because I have already eyed up what my next book hopefully will be, which is ‘Courtiers: The secret history of the Georgian court’, written by my girlcrush (apparently that is the correct buzzword), Lucy Worsley. I know some people can read bits of several books in the same time frame and keep track of them all, but my terrible memory won’t let me do that and I’d get all confuddled, so best to stick to one and hurry up with the canny Corsican book so I can be transported to a world of powdered wigs, pretty dresses and lace sun umbrella’s 🙂

Children should be seen and heard… (summer journal/photo a day)

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The photo a day hint of ‘I wore this’ led me to find this super funky outfit circa 1990. I am not a fan of selfies, certainly wouldn’t subject anybody to having to see my ugly mug, so I thought I’d find a particularly embarassing fashion faux pas when I stumbled upon this cool customer hehe. Check out the shoes! They were almost certainly from Clark’s (that sell THE most comfy cute footwear in the world and the only place my mum would buy our shoes from) and the clothes were more than likely once owned by my sister. Upon finding this, the most odd thought for me was that my parent’s put me in a jumper that had ‘suns’ (or more like crazy eyes) knitted across my chest. I could pretend that my fashion sense has got better but I’ve been taught honesty is the best policy… 😀


Leading on from ‘what I wore’, my stepson wore this Lego movie cutout today and is also the philosopher behind the answer to today’s summer journal prompt: “What was the most amusing thing a child has said within your hearing?”

I have heard so so many weird and wonderful things coming out of children’s mouths, my nephew calling everything a tractor being one of them, but this cracker, being a response to why he was sad, takes the prize:

“You wouldn’t understand. My life is really complicated”

If an adult said that, I wouldn’t have nearly wet myself half as much as I did, but coming out of a 9 year old’s mouth induced a huge bout of rip roaring laughter that I still find myself doing while thinking about it months later. I actually felt a bit guilty that he genuinely considered this statement to be true and I was struggling to breathe with amusement. We did point out that going to school and playing Mario kart might not seem quite so complicated when he gets a bit older… 🙂

Have a bad case of the simples (summer journal/photo a day)

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The photo a day hint is ‘basic’, so I thought Id share my first ever very basic completed cross stitch. I really didn’t enjoy doing this so I have no idea why it spurred me on to do so many other stitching projects, but somehow it did. Possibly down to how stubborn I become if I can’t do something, very rarely liking to admit defeat and most likely trying to prove a point to myself. It worked out though because it fueled my cross stitching hobby and I also don’t have to see it after it was donated to my sister… 😀

imagesThe summer journal prompt is: “What didn’t you do this weekend that you think you ought to have done?”

I definitely should have measured my recent ‘real game of thrones’ stitch so I could go on the hunt for a frame and possibly should have got on with one of my OH’s birthday presents and card. We had another part of a wall knocked out and a new window fitted though so my excuse is that I was on coffee and clearing up dust duty. There is always something I think I should be doing even when I am busy with jobs so it’s nothing new to have that shoulda coulda attitude unfortunately. Now I should be sorting out my stepkid’s dinner about now… Have a good day! 🙂