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If you can't go back, where the hell do you go?*

Of late, I’ve been having conversations about missed opportunities, and reading blog posts about nostalgia, and journeying back through my Itunes and it’s all made me think, think and then sit up and go 'you know what, I AM old'. And I am not sure I like it.

I get this horrible feeling that life has sort of passed me by a little bit. Not in the 'I've not lived' way** but more in a 'I've not lived enough and I think I am too old to do it now' way.

And I thought this was meant to hit you when you turned 30. Maybe it’s hitting me a little late. Or maybe it’s the friends I keep, putting these thoughts in my head, even if they don’t mean to and it’s just through their actions. Maybe it’s the fact they are all slowly but surely moving in different directions and I am not sure which way to go - I know I am too old*** to stay up raving all night, but I am not ready to stop trying every so often. I am definitely not ready for kids, but I am not terrified of them like I used to be. I am doing a proper job, but sometimes I feel like I’ll get found out for just being a kid! Maybe it’s the fact that this year we have one or two free weekend’s between now and July and I don't like that my life is getting all planned out? Whatever it is, it's making me listen to 90's brit pop and wish I had thought through my 20's a little bit better.

And then there is the list of things I'd like to do, but will get looked at 'funny' for attempting these days - like ride a bike really fast down a hill, and move to the seaside and learn to surf and running away to the other side of the world with no consequences. 

Does anyone else get these pangs? These feelings that maybe you ought to have done more, or just done more sensibly? 




Family Friend - The Vaccines
** Yes, I ran away to the south of France to sail, and had winters’ mountains to snowboard, and then there was that summer in Miami – but I want more of them.
***I have older friends who can stay up raving, but me, I can’t. By 5am I need a nap!




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Souvenir Foto School

Click the image for more info

With little under a week before class starts I wanted to share with you, in case you hadn't heard about it, the next Souvenir Foto School class. 
For the last few years I have been taking part in Miss B's fantastic foto projects, and you can see my efforts here {I think my fav was the food/foto one before xmas 2010}. Each time I have participated in a class it's made me push my picture taking and question the shot a little more, and they were just the free classes. 
This year Tristan and Michelle have expanded the classes to offer more help and critique on the participants images and I was absolutely gutted to have missed the sign up for the A-Z class in feb. But I made it on to this class, and I can not wait to get going. It is a 5 week class, with weekly assignments, which I think will really make me think about my images – and the group support on flickr was a a massive bonus in the last classes so I can only imagine it’ll be even better now!
Class starts on April 1st, so if you want to join me and expand your photo skills you can read all about it by clicking the image, or here!*


*No, I wasn't paid for this, or given a discount, or anything. I just really think the classes are ace! Thats all. 
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Sam and her 750 Miles.


Sam & I - Glasto 2010
I want to draw your attention to my wonderful friend Sam and her rather stupid plan for this year. Sam is currently training for an event called Tough Mudder. Which, if you look at it, looks like pure torture – it’s 12 miles of things like running, swimming, climbing up and over stuff, negotiating rope bridges, mud slides and running through fire. I know wtf is she doing right?

But in training for this frankly dumb event, she’s set up a blog of her own to track her running and training - 750 Miles. That’s right, before the event in November she plans to have clocked up 750 miles. I know, another stupid plan. And Sam is a pretty smart lady so I have no clue where all these ridiculous ideas come from {being a person that is only capable of a short distance run/walk/run, it might just be that I am jealous that she can actually do this though}

But all of this abuse of Sam’s intellect was in order to say  you ought to head over and read herblog, follow her progress, and if you’re a runner yourself – give her some encouragement. Lets face it, if you have seen that event, she is going to need it. 
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Growing stuff.

Tom's - from the August Break 2011.

Last year the boy, our then housemate and I tried our hands at growing stuff we could eat in our little yard. We had some strawberry plants, runner beans and tomatoes. And it was a pretty good success. We regularly had freshly picked, taste just like sweets toms that never made it to the table because we ate them all straight off the plant, more runner beans than we could eat and a decent amount of strawberries.  The raspberry plant languished in the shade of the tomatoes and the butternut squash did not like not being watered for a week at all.

This year however, I am stepping up the game. It is part of my 31 things – to grow 5 things I can eat and then eat them. I have a list of things I fancy planting. A seemingly long list that .  This year I will be going to a garden centre and buying plantlings, not just acquiring them. This year I am going with the ‘go big or go home’ school of thought to the gardening {nothing to do with the ‘plant more then it won’t matter if half of it dies’ school of thought, nope, nada}

This year, my list includes;
Strawberries – we still have a plant alive. From last year. I know. Wtf?
Raspberries – They’re already there, and I promise I won’t plant a Tomato near it this time.
Blackberries
Rhubarb – with a bit from my dad’s plant
Squash or Pumpkin – I love how they look as they wind their way round things.
And a shed load of herbs for the boy to cook with.

I have been reading books and devouring the advice on Seed to Plate, including planning how to get the best from our little raised beds and planters, but does anyone have any advice for me. Is there anything I should take off this list. Is there anything I have missed? I know I ought to start in a bit. But when? Is the farmers market on Saturday too early to start buying things?

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Tea Tasting by a none Tea Drinker


Last Thursday at the WI we had a visit from Kirsty at 'Teabox Online' a loose leaf tea business based in Sheffield that blend and create their own tea flavours. Now I am not a tea drinker {am I allowed as a Brit to say that?} I don't touch the stuff to be honest, coffee either {I like my caffeine to come from a can} so I wasn't sure that this would be the best way to spend an evening, but I have to say I was, well, surprised. 

For one Kirsty is about the sweetest person ever and ridiculously knowledgeable about tea, I know it's her job and all but.....So she talked us through the history of tea, and the fact there are many myths about its origins, she talked us through how is was grown and picked and then a little about her company, then we got on to the bit I wasn't looking forwards to - the drinking. 

how different tea is made. 
Not being a fan of the taste of tea, I wasn't sure how this tasting would go down, especially if I had to drink full cups of it, but thankfully, given there were over 100 of us in the room, we just sampled little shots of tea. None of which were served with milk, which I hear is a plus. And here are my thoughts on the tea’s we tasted;  


  • White - very clear, smelt tea-y, but it didn’t have a strong tea flavour, as a result it was possibly my favourite of the tea teas! Which, obviously, it would be, as it's the expensive one!
  • Oolong - Fun name, but not so keen on the taste. It tasted really quite tea like. Which, I find, is the man problem with tea, the tea like flavour. 
  • Green – I have delved into green tea before, mostly when I have thought it was healthy and I ought to, only to find it bitter and horrible. This one however really wasn’t that bitter, which is to do with the amount of time it was steeped {a few minutes} and comes from China, not Taiwan, like most green tea is.  
  • Darjeeling - the champagne of teas - still tasted like tea, but much, much nicer than the Oolong {I put them in my head together as they looked more like traditional tea!}, and has a little drying effect on the mouth. 
  • Strawberry Punch - erm a taste sensation. Having tried what i'd call expensive, shop bought, fruit tea's this was a true revelation - smelt divine and tasted just like strawberries and apples. Like a warm cordial, but without all the sugar! 
  • Mystery tea - Rhubarb and Custard - A definite taste of vanilla, which I guess is the custard flavouring, and the rhubarb came through as an after thought, but it was still  pretty good, if a little sweet for me.

And now I have to admit to having bought a tea. Yes it was the Strawberry one, but after the recommendations of one of the girls at my table I have my eye on their Mojito tea {yes, that is correct!} And now I've tasted a few of the 'better' tea-teas, I can say that honestly I’m still not a fan of the taste, but I can appreciate what all the fuss people make about the different types is about. 

And as part of the WI experience Kirsty is offering a 10% discount on her site with the code 'witen'. You should have a look because the the tea tasting experience {we did a cut down version of it I think} is also run at a cafe in Sheffield! She also ships abroad if you ask for postage rates.  

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Hai Sailor

It’s no secret that I love me a little nautical style. In fact I could open a little themed shop with all the navy and white clothing I own. And I love that it never seems to go out of fashion too {maybe it does, but I don't pay that much attention}. The problem is I rarely ever wear it when I go to the boat as I don’t want to look like the douche that just got thrown up on by the chandlry! But it doesn’t stop me buying more. And here is some of this year’s highstreet* shopping list;


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
And it seems that boat shoes are in fashion, which is a shame as I have spent a good 10 years telling my dad not to waste his money on getting me so ‘as my cons work wonderfully thankyouverymuch’ so the problem I have now is if I cave to fashion and buy some I can never wear them when I see my dad!  

*I know, I know, I probably shouldn't be shopping on the high street, but there is sooooooooo much pretty stuff. Forgive me. 
4

Crafternoon - Jewellery Making








Last weekend I held a little crafting session for my friends - a little jewellery making. I am trying to make them monthly - if life doesn't get in the way. 


It had started to get a little warm so I channelled my inner Whisk Kid and made some light, bright, summer treats only for it to get cold on the day! I made her Lemon Cookies, but used some of my christmas Limoncello to make the 'frosting' {I have no idea how Kaitlin gets her frosting so neat} and also her Grapefruit Cake. I've baked with lemons before but never with grapefruit. And oh my that grapefruit cake was amazing. In fact the lemon cookies were amazing too. Before this summer is out, you should try them both. We had elderflower cordial and pink lemonade to wash it down. 


And for the crafting  I put out an array of bead, and wires and cords and findings. Lots of bright beads, and lots of them in turquoise and even more types of shells with clasps and closures and pliers and then just let my friends go for it. Stringing beads it pretty self-explanatory so there wasn’t much learning involved but that meant we had more time to chat and eat, but  I made a little bracelet with a silver heart on it, one with my inspiration taken from this and a super simple necklace for the summer using my shells.

There isn’t a date set as of yet, but I am hoping the next session will be carving ink stamps. So if you are in Sheffield would like to come along please get in touch on ohgoshem at googlemail.com and I’ll keep you updated on dates – it is usually a Sunday afternoon. I am not, nor are the other attendee’s, experts in any of this – we just kind of make it up as we go along. I make sure there are treats and drinks for everyone, but just ask that people cover the cost of the materials, and as we’re buying for 5-10 people it makes it cheaper that purchasing for one!
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Project Life - February

As I am only doing one page for a week for PL it seems like it would be overkill to post each weeks page but that might change as I figure this out. But here goes with February;
Week 2 - It snowed. A lot. We ate sushi at a Sakushi which was really good & I've never been there before, so one of my 31 things is underway, we dog sat for my little brother - walking those monsters in the ice with post snowboarding knees was not fun I started a bit of party planning for a friends birthday with that spider diagram. And the boy's sister came over with her husband, so we went to Zeugma! The week also had a bad side - on the Friday I lost my job, then on the saturday my nanna died.
Week 3 - This was my first week of job hunting & of sending out CV's - I wrote a lot of emails and read a lot of job descriptions. I also got the details of a presentation for an interview - up on the right there. I baked and gave out Herman the cake, and we went to the Rude Shipyard - a little cafe/bookshop near the house with the boy's mum. Then I got a little impromptu but very welcome visit form my bestie, Liz who brought me my birthday gifts - including that amazing camera sewing.
Week 4 - The boy left for 5 weeks in India the Monday of this week - with a large pink bag! I had a second interview prensenting a digital campaign, and I got a job! Only 15 days out of work - not bad hey! I visited Sammy and Ruby to see just how cute the little lady has become. The WI met - we had an interesting discussion about sex and pleasure. And I won a camera in Kuji's Lomo competition
Week 5 - I made my very first pancakes - yes thats right, at 31 I've never made pancakes. I went to my nanna's funeral and saw all the family. I shopped {maybe too much - a new job requires new running shoes right?} And I went to visit friends in London - Lizzy and I caught up, I spent some time with her uber cute little boy & got to hear his little 'Yorkshire-isms', we shopped, and drank by the river, then i bezzed across the city for drinks and dinner with my old housemate Sarah! Wonderful weekend all round.

My Kit - I have the Amber Core Pack {that's all that was available in the UK}. The Variety Pack 1 page protectors. This folder from HobbycraftI also have a whole load of downloaded cards. I am using a combo of my Canon Selphy CP730 photo printer and my HP 3050A printer/scanner/copier to print, and a corner rounder from Hobbycraft, but I can't find it on the site. 
You can see all my Project Life posts here.
3

Ladies Wot Tech



Last night I attended the first {?} Ladies Wot Tech evening organised by the fantastic Emma Cooper and hosted at the last minute by the Forum. Now, I like to think of myself as a bit of a geek at times, but last night my geekiness and levels of knowledge of anything were put massively to shame by all the speakers who were not only ridiculously diverse, but were all pretty cool and had some fabulous jobs too. The night coincided with it being International Women’s Day too, so you know, we had some girl power stuff serious wine drinking going on too.

We learnt about the amazing things that Zebrafish can do for medical science, {and saw some Disco Fish} from Caroline. Seriously, these fish can be used for what seems like an unlimited number of uses – and they grow so fast {I think the video was 3-4 days and the fish went from egg to fish!}you can see! Then Stella talked us through her journey to her position as a social media manager, and showed us the importance of telling a story to hook your audience. Libby at S1 Chiropractic brought along a spine and showed us the different ways everything in your life impacts on your body. Helen Miller introduced me to the UK Online Centre’s scheme that helps get people online and raised some really interesting points about how not being able to use the internet causes a schism in society. Chella raised some laughs {and made one attendee I saw look aghast} with her discussion about ‘that time of the month’, her zine Adventures In Menstruating  and brought everyone’s attention to the ugly bin’s in loo’s. And finally, Tracey from Creative Barnsley spoke to us about the Geek Girl Dinners {#ggdsoyo} that they host in Barnsley.

But, and maybe this is more important, we all had a few hours out with like-minded, slightly geeky ladies, drinking wine and discovering that the Chinese bakery up the street do amazing cakes that ‘don’t taste weird like French cakes do’. 

If you'd like to find out any more about the Ladies Wot Tech group there is a facebook page, or the events of last night can be seen {including some phone pic's from us all} by following the #SheffIWD tag on twitter. 
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February

Here is February from my Shuttercal. It was a month of job hunting job accepting and seeing friends and starting project life and the boy leaving for India......
I've also got 4 weeks of Project Life pages to post, but I don't have them photographed so that'll have to wait until tomorrow.
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