Saturday, 30 June 2012

Three Hours in Loogerbrooger

It's 7 days to go before my brother's wedding and we all had a mini adventure to Loughborough to have a bit of a practice. I got to hang out with my friends Lisa and Calvin, and together with my bro, we investigated the radio all the way down.

Loughborough is said "Lufbrer" (and not Loogerbrooger) and is about 2 hours away from Manchester. Here are a couple of photos of what I got up to when we were there... but I give nothing away about what's gonna happen at the wedding :D

A mini windmill, in the car park of a local mechanics

The roof! So awesome!

My brother and two of the three of his merry men.

My brother. And my sister's arms.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law (on the right) and one of her merry women :)

It was a nice day catching up with some friends and meeting my soon-to-be family-in-law. The church is amazing, and I get to be the official photographer! There's gonna be loads more photos next week. Of things that are far more wedding related, but for now, here is the teaser! Woohoo! :) It's getting exciting now! Hoorah for family weddings! :)

Friday, 29 June 2012

Cherry Stone Pie Roses

To the accompaniment of the open air Stone Roses concert that's going on right now, my brother spent the day making cherry pie! Who needs tickets when all you need to do with live next to a music venue? :D Where you can make pie and listen to music at the same time! :)

Those are my brother's hands, looking like he's just murdered someone. We had sooo many cherries at home, it seemed logical that our pies would be filled with them too! Who woulda thought they would be sooo messy? Anyway, I made the big pie, and Clem made the smaller two.

Here they are, fresh out of the oven - yes, that is a Pi pie. It's what happens when you bake with a geek. There's also a ZanPie and a Clem/Fiona pie. :)

I had lots of fun baking with my brother. The pie themselves were a little bit on the, erm, crunchy side, but it was fun to make and my pastry was easily yummier. Clem gets all credit for the prettier pies though. 

Hoorah for baking and hoorah for Clem!

Freebie Friday - creams, teas, and coca cola

I had an unexpected mass of freebies delivered to my house this week. It kinda highlighted just how heavily some companies relied on samples to grab the attention of consumers. And also how very often the same company makes the packaging that the free samples come in. The photo:

We have:
2 tea bags of different flavours
3 sachets of one type of anti wrinkle cream
14 sachets of another type of anti wrinkle cream
and a tiny bottle of coca cola - from the Olympic torch day!

It made me giggle how many sachets of anti wrinkle cream I got this week. I guess it's 14 days worth of sampling that they want us to try. My mum has happily taken the whole pile and the last I heard her mumble was about squeezing all the sachets into one little pot to use for a while. Interesting...

Another delivery of teabags got me thinking: I wonder how many I haven't drank yet....

There are 12 right here. And that's just because I haven't got round to drinking them yet. I seem to get lots of free teabags. I'm honestly not complaining!

Well, it's been another good week for free stuff for Zan! Might not have the chance to post up stuff next Friday because it's my brother's wedding, so in two weeks time there might be double the amount of freebies! Who knows! :)

Hoorah for freebies, and hoorah for teabags! :)

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

The weather has been extraordinary. There have been big angry black clouds in the sky all day, giving us the odd threatening shower with a promise of more. The forecast says storms ahead. The general public are sat around in t-shirts basking in the dying sun, waiting for the thunder to arrive. It's hot, but you can smell the rain coming.

It's been a rough day. We said goodbye to our piano teacher who's body was alas too weak to cope with all the mean illnesses that had found her. That was super sad. Between the lot of us at home here, none of us are fighting fit. Bad back, redislocatable shoulders, unhealed wounds and sprained wrists. And of course, there's Uncle who today has taken a bad turn. Not sure what to do with all the emotion. I think for now, storing it is the best idea, otherwise we won't be able to prepare for everything else.

So my chosen method for emotional release? Baking! I did something quick and simple today:

Just a small batch of cranberry and almond flapjacks. Delicious!

I think when it comes down to it, we just have to support eachother. We could all just be sad and emotional, but we have to try and find humour in it. The turning point was when my brother and I had to work together in order to fill the kettle - I couldn't lift the weight due to surgery, but he could only hold the kettle with his remaining undislocated arm. So what happens? We work together. And we learn to focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses. 

I think this is the same for any working team - you suss out what you're good at and then find a way of highlighting those awesome points. Individually, the members of my family might be a tiny bit broken, but together, we can see it through and be awesome in the process. The storm is about to arrive, but we know we can deal with it as a family.

A big hoorah for my family -it's gonna be rough, but it's all going to be okay :)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A First Class Smile! :):)

Today I am celebrating. And when I celebrate, there are two smiley faces in my blog post title, and a photo of three cakes. Three cakes from a wonderful chocolatiers that is just around the corner from my house.

We have carrot cake (I know it's not chocolatey, but it's gonna be awesome), Sacher Torte and Slattery's very own chocolate tart!

What am I celebrating you might ask? Well, I'm celebrating the end of a degree that I didn't know I was going to take. I'm celebrating surviving 2 years of full time education which was mostly overshadowed with serious personal and family health problems. I'm revelling and marvelling at the experiences obtained in the US with Pop-Up Adventure Play as part of my course. And most of all, I'm happy to announce that I'm over-the-moon about getting a 1st! A FIRST! I am officially Suzanna Law with a First Class Honours degree in Playwork!

(US people side note - a 1st class degree honour is, erm, the highest mark you can get for a degree. Wiki tells me it's equivalent to a 4.00 GPA! I think you know better than me what that means!)

Honestly, with how things were going this year, I didn't think I would be anywhere near it. I was practising my "I'm happy with a 2:1" face. This is a fantabulous end to a very trying year, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without lots of help from lots of wonderful people. You know who you are. The celebration is for you too! I shall eat cake on your behalf!

I am SO happy, you would not believe. I have not stopped smiling since yesterday evening when I found out.

I'm also very chuffed for the rest of my classmates, especially Andy, for also doing fantabulously! We're all going to graduate!!! :)

Hoorah for successes, hoorah for cake, hoorah for friends and family, and hoorah for playwork!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sparkles

I've been shopping around for a long time to find some accessories to go with the dress that I bought for my brother's wedding. It's not been as fruitful as I'd like to be honest, so I decided to go DIY and make my own! I found a necklace that went with it, but no suitable bracelets so I took a trip to the bead shop and bought myself some czech glass beads, elastic and I was all set.

Here is all the stuff I needed. I bought more than enough for the project for £8.

And here are the bracelets I made. I can wear one of them, or all of them! Can't decide yet!

Yay, they fit and everything! Simple and does the job! :)

Now, I'm not a super girly girl. In fact, I'm not girly at all, but I reckon this project was an easy one to do, and a compromise. I needed some jewellery, otherwise my wrist would have been naked, but I couldn't find anything that I liked, so I made my own! Hoorah! :) And this almost gives away nothing about my dress! I'm not trying to keep it a secret or anything, but should it not fit because of the operation I had a few weeks back, I don't want everyone to be disappointed when I turn up to the wedding in a different dress. So we wait! :)

I do like making stuff. I say this all the time, but it always makes me extra happy when the stuff I make is actually useful! Hoorah for successful projects! :)

Monday, 25 June 2012

Tea for Two

When I mean "tea" this time, I mean my evening meal and not the drinkable beverage. It's what northerners call it. Not sure why though. Anyway, here's what me and my bro had for tea tonight!

On the left, my bro's fried rice with his weapon of choice. On the right, my funky salad with my weapons of choice. Haha.

Nice having my brother home. Have I mentioned he's getting married? Hoorah for brothers and weddings!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

ChipPop!

My friend Shazia came round to make cakepops with me the other day. She'd seen and heard about this cakey creation and wanted to have a go, so we got stuck in!

We had lots of fun, making up our own designs and getting to grips with the candy coating which is harder to manipulate than you think it is! :) Hahaa. And well done for trying the star shaped one! :)

I've known my friend Shazia since I was in college, which has been about 10 years now. We used to call her Chip (long story) so I christen this batch of cakepops ChipPops! Hahahaa. I think it's pretty cool! Shazia left me house full of smiles and with a whole bag of her very own ChipPops. I really hope she didn't eat them all that evening! Hahaa!

It was lovely to spend some time with Shazia. We live busy lives now, but I'm just very glad that we occasionally make time for eachother and spend it having fun! :) Hoorah for Shazia, and hoorah for cakepops! :)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

My Little Bit of Olympic History :)

Today was super super exciting! I went to work for the first time in weeks and quickly came home to get ready to see the Olympic Torch Relay pass on the main road right outside my house. It was SO exciting!

Me, Dad and Clem, scouting out the best place to stand. With my little flag.

We saw soooo many people! They're all behind us.

Clem explores some new viewing platforms

Mum and Uncle came to join in the excitement.

People lined there streets - the atmosphere was intense and amazing!


The cyclist that leads the way. Followed by lots of sponsors. And then...

Look, there it comes!

Everyone's soooo excited!

My best shot of the torch and it's bearer that came right past my house!

Bye bye torch! I don't think I'll see you again in my lifetime!

Viewing platforms which were even higher than Clem's!

The buses were super delayed because of this - doesn't this look like a super long bus?

I had a super exciting time! Look at my face! Hahahaha.

This was an amazing experience. Considering what the weather was like yesterday, I didn't even think I'd get to see the torch without holding an umbrella! It worked out very well though, and we had a burst of sun just as the torch and its bearer came through my own town. There were sooo many people, and for the second time this month (read about the first time here) I have welled with pride to be part of my community. It feels nice to be part of something historical like this. I hope blogs will stick around so I can look back and say, yep, I was there. Olympic Torch Relay 2012. Hoorah for the local community, hoorah for the Olympics, and hoorah for the Torch! Woooo! :)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Freebie Friday - a great hoard!

This week just goes to show that being out and about gets you free stuff! A marked difference to last week where I didn't leave the house at all. Ready for the photo? Here we go:

This week, I managed to obtain:
A canvas bag
A packet of powdered superfruit
2 mints
three pens
a coaster
a supermarket trolley token thing
a kitkat chunky
a sample of purfume
and a nail file
Summary: 12 items of freeness!

I'm soooo happy about my hoard for the week! Now I have pens to use and more stuff to eat! I still very much love my free stuff, even if it's been a bit quiet for a few weeks. I should really credit the carnival I went to on Sunday for most of my collection, but I still received some good stuff through the post and out shopping! Woohooo! Hoorah for free stuff! :)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Photographic Memories

I forget stuff all the time, and very much envy the people who have in built photographic memories! To make up for that, I have taken photos at every opportunity. Here are some shots of stuff that I took but haven't remembered, until now!

This is in the back garden. It's definitely me, but I have no idea what I was doing.

A funny photo of my brother and my uncle picking fruit from the plum tree in the garden.

Fun graffiti I saw in Manchester once.

My friend Ricky, eating. I think I have a lot of photos of Ricky eating, or at eating situations. 

My sister and I found our flowergirl dresses from a wedding we took part in many many moons ago. They were long. We have also hardly grown since, as you can kinda tell....

This photo, I'm putting on facebook immediately - look at how young we were!

Anyway, not done much today apart from watch the rain. Am about to re-organise the mass of photos I have taken over years. I shall enjoy the happy memories and store them away in easier to access folders! Wooo! :)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

DIY Postcard Book

I've been curious about Washi Tape for a few weeks now. It seems like a marvellous invention, and good for simple, time saving crafy ideas. It's a little bit on the expensive side, this tape stuff, and being a little poor at the moment I've been a little lost. What to do? I knew there must have been a solution. And there was! Sticky ribbon! Just as effective if not as pretty, but it does the job! I had a load left over from a project that was completed many moons ago. Inspired by projects seen on A Beautiful Mess and How About Orange, I gathered up some old and random free postcards I'd collected over the years and made this:

A postcard book!

I used the sticky ribbon to seal the edges of the postcards to connect the pages together.

Sometimes I just used little strips of the ribbon across the join for a different effect.

Close up, it looks really nice and seems very secure!

I sealed the whole book by running short lengths of tape from the front to the back, binding all of the pages together to make a nice spine for my little book.

I think this was a really cool, really quick little project. I might make a few more because it was really satisfying to do. I'm planning on giving it as a gift so people can stick ticket stubs in, or use it as a scrapbook, or anything really. I also think that a good variation of this would be to be use actual postcards received from other people. I have LOADS of those. I think this was an awesome project, especially the spine!

Hoorah for rediscovering crafy items, and making new stuff from old things! :)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Pastries :)

My lovely friend and colleague, Morgan has flown off to Americaland without me. She's allowed though - she's going over there to be awesome, so I'll just have to make do with Skyping her. But I was still a little sad because I wanted to go too. So today, I decided to keep very busy! I went shopping with my mum, popped into my other work to see my colleagues, prepared a blogpost for tomorrow, nipped to the shop for my dad, and then baked. Oh yes.

Joyous Zan with baking success!

A collage of my lovely puff pastry creations! Nom nom nom!

It's the first time I've made puff pastry, so I thought I'd try some rough tough pastry. Seemed to be less delicate so I couldn't do it so wrong? Anyway, I experimented with a few different fillings, a few different designs, and remarkably, they all came out okay! I'm so very surprised and I'm soooo very chuffed! I'm also very full having eaten many. 

I feel that I am making a good recovery. It means that now I can bake and eat the stuff I make! Wooohooo! Hoorah for baking, hoorah for puff pastry, and hoorah for everything being okay in the end :)

A Feast for the Tummy!

Now that I'm supposed to be fixed and all, I decided to celebrate with a delicious treat. And when I say celebrate, it was punctuated with much caution, but I am totally chuffed that I am not hurting, even in the slightest!

I had two piece of chicken, a portion of fries, half a cup of pepsi and a sweetcorn, all with a side of gravy. I was beside myself with glee!

I know this doesn't look like anything special, but I can't explain to you enough how much of a relief it is to know that the food you've eaten won't have any painful consequence. Now I'll only get fat. Haha.

Before surgery, I was not allowed: 
  a) fatty foods including cheese, fried food, chocolate, chicken skin, bacon etc
  b) fizzy drinks, 
  c) caffeine

Now, all those worries are gone, and I can eat anything! Although I'm still sceptical (hence only half a cup of pepsi) I'm re-discovering all the foods I've previously avoided religiously. And it is awesome. :) It still hurts when I sneeze, but I thank God every day that I can enjoy the simple pleasure of eating again :) Hoorah for food! :)

Monday, 18 June 2012

Two Experiments :)

I have mentioned before that I love making stuff. Being completely house bound has meant that as soon as I could sit up, I was making stuff. Here's what I've been up to:

I'm sewing again, and yes it is the same fabric. It's what happens when you only buy two big bits of fabric that go together perfectly but only make small things. I'll end up with curtains made out of this stuff soon. This time's project I've been experimenting with magnets.

It's about time the cakepops got a travel-sized box. Completely handmade of course. And it's also about time that we tried them in the post.... hmm... not so confident about this one. Watch this space for the outcome of this experiment!

Today's ultimate test is to get me driving again. I think I should be alright for it now cos walking is fine. But I haven't driven for a week so it might be quite weird. We'll see. I like experiments :) Hoorah for trying new things, and yay for feeling better! :)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Zan at the Carnival :)

This morning I woke up craving fresh air. I haven't left the house since Thursday and I was beginning to suspect mold growing somewhere in my hair. So very slowly, very carefully, I started walking. And guess where I ended up? At a carnival! It would have been about 10/15 minute walk from my house, but it took me almost 25 minutes to get there. Haha. I have to say, I spent a lot of my time scooting around the periphery of this event because I didn't have it in me to fight through the crowds, but it was certainly a fun event!

A happy looking man dressed in fun clothes holding some form of instrument and using his mobile phone.

The lovely people at Tea For Me gave me a free scone! Yay! :)

This lady gave me free cake. This made me very happy :)

Look at all the people! And their pets! And all those little gazebo things!

There was even live music. I can hear it from my house!

There was a fun fair too - I was particularly excited by the Carousel :)

The carnival was at a park. The playground was packed! Kinda.

And on the periphery, with me, were three children playing on their own, running around on the grass and watching from the sidelines. They prove that you don't need amusement parks and fixed play equipment to have fun! A bit of overgrown grass is just as good! This made me very happy :)

And what where they watching? A majorette competition! I've seen this type of sport before but I didn't know what it was called. And how entertaining it was. I watched this group's entire routine. It's like a cross between a marching band and cheer leading. With sticks.

I had quite a lot of fun, watching and photographing the carnival. Alas it was all a bit too much and I couldn't walk all the way home. I got a bit too tired and sore so my mum had to come and get me. Ah well. Further and faster next time! It was sunny, I've been outside, I got free cake so I'm very happy. Hoorah! Yay for carnivals :)