Saturday, 21 January 2017

Photography Project 365, Week 3

This year I'm attempting Project 365, taking a photo a day 365 days of the year. You can follow my daily posts on Instagram or see the weekly round up here on the blog every Saturday.

Week Three

Sunset over St John's Wakefield


Ham, Brie and Leek Quiche

I make a lot of quiches, this is my homemade Ham, Brie and Leek Quiche. YUM.

Villeroy & Boch sugar bowl

Charity shop find of the week, a Villeroy and Boch sugar pot.

Daughter in a Sleep Mask

Daughter 2 gets the superhero look while enjoying a refreshing eye mask.

Half Moon Morning

The Moon refusing to go to bed on the school run.

Gin Cushions

I got bored in the cushion aisle of Asda, this is my cry for help.

Teen Peeling

Teen was asked to peel the potatoes. She didn't want to peel potatoes. This is the result.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Photography Project 365, Week 2

This year I'm attempting Project 365, taking a photo a day 365 days of the year. You can follow my daily posts on Instagram or see the weekly round up here on the blog every Saturday.

Week Two

Bombay gin gift

Apology presents from Daughter 2, one of the perks of having kids aged 21. Of course she was instantly forgiven

Geranium in winter

The geranium is blooming, in January. I don't know if it's supposed to but I'm enjoying it anyway.

Betty Dog

Betty the Dog. Not my dog.

Sunset over Wakefield

Sunset over Wakefield. Fair warning there's going to be quite a few of these if I manage to get to the end of 365 because I do love a good sunset though I'll try to restrain myself to one a week.

Night out with beer

A night out with old friends.


Walking home from piano lessons, we go past this pathway leading to Wakefield Prison, the tower in the distance. Oddly enough we're never tempted to explore further. Maybe when the nights are lighter.


 That thing I said about one sunset a week? I lied.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

My Favourite Photos of 2016

My annual photographs seem to come up with much the same subject matter year after year. There'll be shots of the family, but they get increasingly less and less as the children grow older and don't so much pose anymore as run away screaming.

There's usually photos of Whitby, and photos of steam engines, and photos of steam engines in Whitby. There is, very probably, photos of sheep, for no other reason than on days out in the Yorkshire countryside, the least unwelcoming being you'll meet is probably a sheep.*

Nevertheless do not be deterred, here are my favourite photographs of 2016...

Whitby Abbey picture postcard

Yes, it's Whitby and a couple of obvious scenic shots.

Whitby West Cliff

Whitby again, but possibly a little less obvious shot of the tea stand and Fish Market on the harbour side.

Whitby Fish Market Whitby Harbour

And finally some unusual Whitby shots. First, a rare sighting of the gigantic seagull of old Whitby Town.....

Seagull Whitby Beach Perspective

And The Boy stomping through the streets of Whitby back to the holiday cottage after a day on the beach; damp, sandy and in his dad's t-shirt. A ten year old's idea of an awesome thing to do. Apparently.

Whitby streets

Obligatory steam engine shot...

Steam engine North Yorkshire Moors

And THE steam engine shot ... the Flying Scotsman chuffing across the North Yorkshire in March 2016.

The Flying Scotsman Steam engine on the North Yorkshire Moors

Some sheep...

Sheep Haworth Moor

Sheep Haworth Moor

Unusually though my very favourite photos of 2016 weren't of Whitby, or trains or sheep. They were both taken at Bolton Abbey and I love the first because it reminds me of a painting.

Bolton Abbey

The second is badly shot, out of focus, and of an unknown group of people or family walking across the famous Bolton Abbey stepping stones but, either despite all that or because of that, it's my number one photo of the year.

Bolton Abbey Stepping Stones

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Photography Project 365, Week One

This year I'm attempting Project 365 taking a photo a day 365 days of the year. You can follow my daily 365 posts over on my Instagram or see the roundly week up here on the blog every Saturday.

Week One

Boy and bass project365

New Year's Day and The Boy sharing the chair with daddy's bass in it's case the morning after the night before. Musical instruments usually end up hogging the furniture in this house.

sunset with crescent moon and venus

Sunset and the crescent moon,Venus is the bright dot to the left of the moon.

arm wrestling twins

The twins arm-wrestling after tea while Daughter 2 tests out the 'Christmas muscle' she got during the festive season working in a well known toy store.

Wakefield city centre

Wakefield City centre

Once more, with feeling tattoo

Daughter 1's new tattoo: the title of her favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode done in my handwriting. 

Rude gingerbread man cutters

I might be 52 years old, but I have the mind of a 12 year old *snigger* 
Sorry. Not sorry,

Monday, 2 January 2017

Saal Digital Photo Book ... A Review

I'm one of those people who take photographs all the time. Of everything and anything, and mostly of other people who shout: 'Oh, mum. Don't.' at me shortly after. I'm also one of those people who never, ever gets their photos printed out, thousands languish on my hard drive unseen for years

Until, that is, Saal Digital came to the rescue with the opportunity to create one of their photo books. Saal Digital is a German company specialising in printing services and they offer a range of photo books in a number of sizes and formats: Landscape or portrait, with soft covers, hardcovers, or luxurious leather bindings. 

There's a choice of glossy or matt pages, lots of colour options for both the cover and pages, you can add your own text, and there's loads of page templates to help you design your photo book. You can even freestyle it your own way using the software's page grids and resizing tools. Either way you can truly individualise each page cherry picking from the templates or not, depending on how you choose each double page spread to look.

The front cover of my Saal Design photo book

I chose to create a landscape A4 size photo book of favourite photographs from holidays and days out over the past couple of years. Downloading and installing Saal Digital's software is quick and easy and you can start your design, save it and reopen it again (as well as download it as a PDF) so you don't have to design your book in one session. The software also loads all of the photos on your hard drive to the software so there's no uploading one image after another, you just search straight from the software.

The only time-consuming element of the whole process is deciding which photographs to choose, although you can add pages to your photo book as you design if you simply can't decide.


When you've finished your design, the time between uploading it to Saal Digital and it arriving is astonishing. My finished photo book dropped on to the doormat just a couple of days later.


And the finished product was absolute stunning, I'd opted for a gloss finish for the cover and pages and a faint lilac background because, well, why not but as it turned out, it made my photos pop on the page so, hurrah well done me.

Photo quality was excellent whether taken by the big camera, the point and shoot, or the phone. The colour translation of the photos from screen to print was true while the lay flat binding (meaning the book lays flat when opened at every page) means you never lose sight of the edge or the middle of a photo to the terror of an inner margin.

Back cover and the only shots of me in the entire photo book. Oh....

I was hugely impressed with the overall quality of my photo book, even more impressed that there are no Saal Digital logos or brand names on the finished article so if you give it as a gift (Saal Digital will even gift box it for you), it does look like a personalised gift and not an advertisement,

But mostly I fell just a little bit in love with my own photos all over again. So sorry kids, I'll be pointing cameras in your face for a little while yet,

Not sorry.

Disclosure: I was gifted a Saal Design Photo Book to the value of £40 for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year 2017

For 2017

Run at life. Grab it, squeeze it, wrestle it. Appreciate it, enjoy it, use it. Love it. 
Take it for long walks in the woods, for picnics on the beach, and dancing at weekends.

Life is what you make it. Make it matter.


Happy New Year 2017

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Parenting A Teenager, The Survival Guide.

It's an experience, parenting a teenager.

The kind of experience they try to sell at Halloween with a hefty price tag that involves screaming, shrieking, and a lot of horror.  But unlike Halloween, it goes on ...and on.... and on.... for years.

As a parent you should prepare yourself the very best you can to survive your little darling's most 'challenging' years, and I don't just mean by bracing yourself and hoping for the best. When I say prepare, I mean prepare. Like Ironman.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Days Out in Yorkshire with Yorkshire Water: Haworth Moor


The Bronte sisters and I have been longtime companions, my favourite book is Wuthering Heights and has been since I first read it aged 16 over 35 years ago. My degree thesis at uni was titled "Gender Roles in the Novels of the Bronte Sisters," and my eldest daughter boasts two of their names as her own. Not a third though because that might be considered overkill.
So when Yorkshire Water invited us to explore some of the 72,000 acres of land the company owns across Yorkshire as part of the new Enjoying the Land campaign, it seemed entirely appropriate to take up their challenge by walking the same paths that the Brontes walked across Haworth Moor.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Parenting Firsts: The Ones They Don't Warn You About.

The first few years of a child's life are marked in a series of milestone firsts ... the first tooth, first word, first steps, first day at school. But parenting firsts don't stop there, as your child grows into a teenager and, lo, in adulthood there will be many more firsts.

Those firsts they don't warn you about in the parenting manuals....

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