Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Very Happy Day :)

My lovely friend Andy and I went into uni today to hand in our last piece of work. Last piece of work. Ever. (For this degree ;) ) Here it is!

Doesn't it look kinda awesome? Five essays (5000 words) and 3 videos of awesome!

Andy, Andy, Mek, Saf and I decided that we would write about "The Future of Play" for our final piece of work. It was really quite a challenge, but with the 5 of us working together, it really wasn't too bad! I like the final product, I really enjoyed the process. Maybe I'll talk more about it if we get a decent mark! :)

It took around 3 months to complete this project, but we weren't able to dedicate all our efforts into it because we had to write our dissertation too! And then I got sick and it went all stupid. When we finally put the DVDs into the final printed copy today, it felt awesome. The greatest part of my day today was this summary from Andy:

"We've handed in, made future plans and inadvertently met the Dean, all in an hour - Happy Hour?"

It's so true! Once I handed my work in, I had a moment of hesitation: what do I do now? This was quickly taken over by "I'VE FINISHED MY DEGREE!!" and then a happy dance. It was a good day.


I got free ice cream. This is free ice cream with a free ice cream shovel. This made my day even better.

I will talk more about the ice cream later tomorrow with my usual Freebie Friday post. But you have no idea how chuffed I was. I did another happy dance when the man gave me my ice cream and he laughed at me. It was definitely the-cherry-on-the-top moment of my day in Leeds.

I came home to more rain in Manchester, but it didn't dampen my mood! My beloved watch that I'd sent off to be repaired was delivered today and now my wrist is not naked anymore! Yay! :) And you know what? It's only half 4. There's got to be a lot more awesome left in the rest of the day:) 

Hoorah for happy things, hoorah for finishing the Playwork Bachelors degree course, hoorah for Andy, and hoorah for ice cream!!! It's been a wonderful day! :)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Two More Productions

Andy Andy & Co are my university group. We got together because we had a crazy project to do called Working Together. I absolutely love each one of my lovely group members. They are awesome! We have Mekitilda who is just hilarious, Saffia who's absolutely lovely, Andy Holmes who's just Andy Holmes, and Andy Hinchcliffe who's been my rock. I really want to thank them all for being awesome.

I briefly mentioned my group a couple of weeks back when we first started video production, and yesterday we did a final push to finish off our work. Here are some of our failed moments of our day yesterday:

This is my hand. It was getting late on in the day and I was getting confused.

The wig for this stick man was rejected because, well, it looked odd.

Now for those of you on the course who might be wondering why our group is still doing uni work, you might have missed my post about my gall stones. Nice as it might be that we got an extension, I really wished that we had got this finished on time with everyone else. Sigh. Ah well, almost done now. I'm just putting the videos together so we can hand this all in tomorrow!

And will I share the videos with you all one day? I don't know yet. We'll have to see. They're a bit too awesome to be just shared for free :)

Anyway, hoorah for videos, hoorah for group work, and hoorah for Andy Andy & Co :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Of Blogs and Bread :)

My lovely friend and colleague Morgan has just set up the Playwork Bloggers Network. The idea behind it is that people who blog about playwork can come together and share their experiences through their blogs to enhance their own reflective practice, and the reflective practice of others. I think it's a fantabulous idea! Especially when Morgan gave me this introduction:
Suzanna blogs on such diverse topics as photography, crafting, making brioche and - yes! - playwork. More than that, she documents a playful approach to life, as well as the many aspects of playwork which she is involved in. A student of Fraser Brown's at Leeds Metropolitan, AND a co-founder of Pop-Up Adventure Play, Suzanna is a very busy lady who still finds the time to take care of her own needs for play in a bright and joyful way.
I was a little take-a-back I must say. Such lovely words! When Morgan first asked me if I wanted to be part of this network, I wasn't so sure that what I wrote fit into the category of being playwork blog. I don't always blog about playwork, but my intentions for the blog was to discuss everyday play from my own experiences. I think my blog is about how I live a playful life and I want to share with everyone how easy it is to take a few minutes of your day to play. It's more like playwork in action, I guess, and how playwork is a lifestyle rather than just a job. So I suppose in a roundabout way, I am a playwork blogger!

Anyway when you get the chance, please go and click the like button the Playwork Bloggers Network facebook page! There are super awesome cool people there, who talk about play-related things! Go see! Are there enough links yet? Hahaha! :)

On to a less wordy subject, here is my baking for the day!

I did bread rolls today and had some with my tea. They were awesome! The rest of them I will be taking to Bradford tomorrow to share with my Working Together Group tomorrow! Yay! :)

Did I mention that I hadn't quite finished my uni course yet? All of the other students on the course have done all their work, but because I was sick I got an extension (thankfully) but it's delayed things a little. Annoying, but also awesome. I get to spend a little more time with some very nice group members :) And tomorrow we get to have a little picnic! :) Wooo! :)

Hoorah for blogs, hoorah for bread, hoorah for Andy Andy & Co! :)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Blue Skies! :)

When the sun shines, my favourite thing to look at is the sky. I love sky blue. I've only just recently fallen in love with it. Sadly, I didn't notice until I bought a t-shirt, coat and shirt in the same shade and then accidently wore them all at the same time. By the time I realised the combination faux pas I was already in public. Anyway, here are some photos of myself over the last couple of days being excited about the sky! :)

And for my final flourish - a little bit of magic! Please don't try this unless you like having those funny glowing blobs in your vision for ages after...

I'm really happy. :) Hope you are too! :) Hoorah for happy blue skies! :)

Three Loaves of Brioche

A few weeks back, I made lots of shortbread bites for a food sale at my church to raise money for our young people to go to summer camp. Today, they're having food sale number two, and I was going to make shortbread bites and brioche, but having been ill for a week, I didn't really have time for both. After much discussion (mostly with myself) I decided to concentrate on making brioche in hope that everyone will know at it is, and enjoy it! :) Yay! :)

For those of you who aren't sure what brioche is, it's like a very light, very soft sweet bread that comes from France. Sometimes it has a filling, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, it's delicious and I highly recommend trying some! :)

One big loaf of cinnamon and brown sugar swirls, and two little loaves that have a figgy filling - all wrapped up and ready to go! :)

This is my biggest bake yet - when I'd finished kneading the dough I was pretty tired! This is gonna be good fun though! Hope everyone will enjoy this batch of brioche, and that this sweet bread doesn't cause too much confusion! Hahaa. Let the fundraising begin! :)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Freebie Friday - creams and teas

The freebies have still been arriving, even despite my brief spell in a hospital. There might be a week where nothing happens now though cos I couldn't sign up for anything when I was sick. Here's more stuff to add to my freebie collection:

This week have 10 unbleached organic tea bags and two tubes of moisturising cream :)

Last week, I had a bajillion visits to my Freebie Friday post. Might just be because, you know, freebies are awesome.  But I guess not everyone's as enthusiastic about me to blog about them too. Or maybe everyone just wanted my mini whiskey. It nice though - sharing freebies. Shoot me a line for hints and tips. Right now I think it's time for some lunch in the sun :)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Happy :)

Today I am happy. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. I woke up in my own bed and I got work done. I feel happy. And productive. And pain free. A marked difference from the last few days.

This photo celebrates two things:
1) My presence outside - Outside! I almost forgot what it was like.
2) Food - For the first time in a long time, I can eat without feeling sick. And without being in pain. It's magical.

Feels like a good day. I think I might go and soak up the rest of it. :) Hoorah for being happy and healthy again! :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Out Of Action

For years now I have had random, and very sudden intense pain in my diaphragm/tummy area. I've always just waved it off as indigestion, or gas, or allergies or something or other. But recently it got so bad that I knew that I couldn't ignore it any more. For one thing, I'd lost so much weight that I couldn't find clothes to fit any more. Now I've always wanted to be thinner, but this was bordering on ridiculous! Most of all, I cannot describe to you how painful it was.

Sadly, on Saturday I couldn't wait any longer and my Dad had to rush me into A&E. I have been in varying states of consciousness in ward B3 of my local hospital until about an hour ago. Now I'm home, sitting in comfort, and a tiny bit confused about the world outside. Having not left the hospital for a while, I was beginning to think that being outside was a figment of my imagination!

For the squeamish amongst you, don't look at the third of the next series of photos, but of course, I took some photos whilst I was in hospital! I had plenty of time to amuse myself with silly little things.

Here are the pills I took every morning. There are 6 here. Wait, I think there were 7.

Here are the crazy socks I had to wear all the time apart from half an hour break every day. They were silly and had a hole at the bottom.

Avert your gaze if you don't like squishy inside things!!!!

And it is the sucker that has been causing me sooo much pain! A gall stone! This was the big one - I had 2! They took a photo of it for me before they took it out. My dad says it looks like toffee covered popcorn. Morgan said it looked like cauliflower.

Soooo! After being out of action for 5 days in hospital with lot of pain, and going through CSI-type sleuthing the doctors finally worked out that I have gall stones! Gall stones which were on the move too and had been for a few years, causing major unhappiness to the rest of my organs which is why I've had trouble eating, digesting, and keeping my weight. It's all fine though - the gall stones are out, and I'm being booked in to remove the rock formation factory (gall bladder) and everything will be fine!

Now to rest up, catch up with work, and plan for the next operation! Wooo! :) The main thing is that I'm home, I'm okay, and I'm back in action. Tomorrow :) Hoorah for problem solving, and hoorah for useful solutions! :)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Freebie Friday - chocolate, whiskey and play related things

I was quite amused when I realised that my adventures away from home always brought me back home in time to do my freebie friday post. I quite enjoy telling you all about my free things as well. I must just like showing off. Hahaa. Anyway, I'm impressed with this week's freebies, especially compared to last week...

Here we have a tiny little bottle of whiskey, a peanut butter kitkat chunky, a playwales lanyard complete with misspelt badge and a really handy pocket-sized version of the Playwork Principles.

I think I'm totally happy with this week's freebies cos they actually relate to what I do. Okay, perhaps not the whiskey (I have no idea what I'm gonna do with that) and maybe not the kitkat (my next snack I think!) but a tiny copy of the playwork principles complete with useful quotes and interesting contact details? It has to be the most playful freebie I've had yet! Although, talking to some of the people at the conference over the past couple of days, they would say otherwise, but hey! That's the subject of another post. 

In the meantime - look at my freebies! I also have a Play England pen somewhere, and the playwork department at Leeds Met has wonderfully branded me with my very own hoody, which is a tiny bit too awesome to be on the blog post today. I might have to give it back which is why I'm not going to post it up yet, but I might get away with keeping it....

Anyway! Conferences are great for freebies. If you came to see Morgan and myself present at the Spirit of Adventure Play Conference, you should have had a Pop-Up Adventure Play sticker as a freebie from us! If you came to see us and didn't get one, get in touch, and I'll send you one pronto! Hahaha. Free stuff makes me happy! Woooo! :) Hoorah for conferences and free stuff! :)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

My Spirit 2012

The first time I went to a Spirit of Adventure Play Conference was in 2009 and I was brand new to the field. I was a playranger, working with a company called Children's Links, out to learn more about the world of play. I'm not going to lie, last time I went, I learnt things, but I didn't grow.

Since then, I worked hard at being a playranger and then moved on to become a playwork student at Leeds Met under the first professor of play in the UK, and have had huge involvement with Pop-Up Adventure Play, so before the conference, I had felt that this time, my status had changed.

So what were my thoughts about the conference? On my long train journey home from Cardiff, I managed these reflective thoughts on my phone:
For the first time ever, I have met the people that I'd only seen printed in my textbooks. It was a surreal experience, giving me a combination of that starstuck wide-eyed look with the surprised can't-quite-believe-this-is-happening face. Well, that's what I think happened anyway. Fraser said I played it cool. As it is with most things just printed on paper, I'd spent time imagining what the authors of my papers looked like and I made have made a few errors when imagining their faces. Turns out that Jess Milne is a man, and Ali Wood is a lovely lady. Also turns out that many older male playworkers have pretty impressive beards and some don't like shoes. I'm not sure what I was expecting before Morgan introduced me to the entirety of my bibiliography list, but I think I've come out the other side keener, wiser, and a better playworker. 
During this conference, I have met people with very different perspectives of playwork from myself, but also people who see play in the same way as myself but insist that they are unique, different and revolutionary in their own right. I have also met a lot of lovely people who love the stuff that Morgan and I have been doing with Pop-Up Adventure Play and the Pop-Up Play Shop, and many others that wish to open their own. I have met people in all walks of the playwork life, some who have just started, some who just startled, some who are keen, some who were there because they were sent by work, some who had been to every single spirit conference, and some that were returning from a few years break. It has been quite an experience. I even met my old colleagues from Children's Links! 
And did I mention I met Bob Hughes? Oh yes. remember I told you how big a deal he was in playwork? Well, I met Bob Hughes. And he's lovely:)

And yes I totally took a photo with him! :)

You know, I'm absolutely shattered. I have more thoughts about the conference too, but I'm not sure what they are yet. I'm sure a night's good sleep and a hearty brunch should fix that! In the meantime, I'm home, I'm happy and I've had a great time at the Spirit of Adventure Play Conference 2012. Hoorah for play any and playwork! :)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Pop-Up Adventure Play @ Spirit2012

Had a fun day at the conference! Met lots of famous (playwork) people and had lots of interesting conversations. More about this tomorrow maybe. Hoorah! :)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Spirit of Adventure:)

I'm off to another play conference! This one is called Spirit of Adventure Play Conference organised by Play Wales. I'm very excited! It's in Cardiff, very close to where the Pop-Up Play Shop used to be. I'll be teaming up with Morgan to do some presenting about Pop-Up Adventure Play, and will also be representing the Leeds Metropolitan University Playwork course. I'm super excited to meet playworkers from around the UK and to just have lots of fun. I haven't got a photo to show... so...

There we go. Play Wales awesomeness! Off on a train tomorrow to be ready for the early start on Wednesday. It's gonna be an intense couple of days but it should be awesome. Might not be able to update until I get back, but we will see. Hoorah for Spirit! :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012


I was searching around for something creative to do today when I remembered a mini series of photos that I once did. Here they are, linked from my flickr account:

Lego's good for more than just building!

Bit of stationary goodness. My entire stationary collection to be precise!

I remembered how much fun I had when I did those two photos, so I thought I'd add to the collection - I don't think it's quite as good, but the effect is there, and I had fun doing it! :)

Buttons!! :) Lots and lots of buttons! :)

Wasn't feeling very well today but taking this photo made me feel a bit better! I hope that you all had a nice day! With lots of !!! :) Hoorah for photo projects! :)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Awesome Little Things

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Sometimes, all it takes are little things. In fact, most of the time they are literally little things! I wrote about how the miniature tobasco sauce made me really happy once. Here are a few more things to add to my collection:

A miniature cheese grater! My dad bought it for me to use for my little baking sessions.

A mini R2D2 - my managers bought this for me for baking cakes for work! It was even awesomer when I found out that there were even minier R2D2 shaped mints inside! This is now officially the geekiest thing I own.

Happy fries - small, squishy, and super awesome :)

There's so much happy to be had from small things. I think it's just that some stuff is awesome when they're big already, but when they're small, all the awesomeness gets squashed into a condensed, super concentrated article of awesome. Here is a very relevant song:

Little things make me happy :) Yay for little things! :)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Freebie Friday - Shampoo, Conditioner and Tea

I only had two little items of freeness in the post this week. It's been a very long and slow week in general for everything I think because it started off with a Bank Holiday Monday. Anyway, here's my stash for the week:

A bit o' Twinning's tea and some sachets of hair awesomeness there.

I should probably take the opportunity to tell you about the sites that I visit which tell me about free stuff. My most favourite and, in my opinion, prettiest freebie website is Magic Freebies UK. I like them so much that I've signed up to their mailing list where they send me - daily - 8 new free things available to acquire. It's pretty awesome. I also use and on a day to day basis. And it all makes me very happy! :)

Anyway, I'm off to discover more awesome things! Woohooo! :)

Thursday, 10 May 2012


I looked around my room yesterday and realised that I had accidentally acquired different products from one of my most favourite companies: They are an awesome company that makes really really good quality stationary like business cards and stuff. Over the years I have browsed their site with a view to purchasing but without really much of a need but now, I have three of their products! It makes me soooo happy! :)

Here is a photo of just the packaging that my stuff comes in - don't they look awesome? Here, wee have business cards, minicards and stickers. They also do postcards and greetings cards!

These are the minicards - my only photo of them. We use them for Pop-Up Adventure Play stuff sometimes. We need more soon though - I can't wait cos they look so awesome and cute! This photo was taken when we took the cards to a play conference in South Carolina. They were so popular that we have none left!

I showed you these business cards the other day - they were a freebie, but they are awesome! I got 10 of them but I want more. Lots more!

And here are the stickers. I ordered them ages ago as a present to myself to doing well at something. I think. They are awesome and I use them to decorate stuff! :)

Anyway, I joined Moo's affiliate program the other day. This is not just because of my love for the company, but because I wanted to show you the awesomeness of their products. They are playful, have lovely customer service and are just generally great. So I'd like to invite you to click on the banner to the right or underneath and try Moo out! I can assure you, once you've experienced the awesome, you'll never find quality quite like it elsewhere! :) Hoorah for Moo!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

For the Love of Cardboard

I've been mildly fascinated by cardboard recently. Yes, I said cardboard. I really like how this basic, brown, paper-based object can have SO many possibilities!

Firstly, I'd like to share about the Cardboard Tube Fighting League. Yes! And entire league of cardboard tube fighting people. They gather, they are issued with standard league sized tubes, then they fight - according to set rules! It has to be the best sport ever.

They have lots of photos too! :)

Now I would like to share with you some monkeys. Cardboard Monkeys!

James Grashow has made lots of cardboard things but these monkeys are my favourite! People need to recognise just how awesome cardboard is and just wait for artists to do awesome things with it! :)

Finally, I'd like to show you an awesome cardboard-y video. Covered by my current favourite band Walk Off the Earth, here is the fun song, Little Boxes.

Have fun with cardboard sometime soon - it is super satisfying, even if you just find one big enough to sit in! :) Haha! :) Hoorah for cardboard! :)

Stop Motion Day

I was super busy yesterday making a stop motion video for a project at uni. It was lots of fun, but very time consuming but it's finally done! My friend Saffia stayed over to help out and we had a bit of a giggle, and we're kinda proud of how it turned out. Here is are a couple of shots that went wrong and we didn't use:

"Those are very well dressed stickmen" - Andy

That hand belong's to Saffia - she got a little carried away! :)

Anyway, so there's a sneak preview into our project! We're presenting this on Friday so it'll be very interesting. There are supposed to be lots of presentations on, but we've not seen our classmates for such a long time that we have no idea what they're all doing! So it's all going to be a bit of a surprise!

Right, on to crazier things. By crazier, I think I just mean boring-er. And by things I mean essays. Ah well - at least we've made a video :D I'll post that up when the project's handed in. :)

Monday, 7 May 2012

Bank Holiday Bread

It's been a bit of a miserable Bank Holiday Monday really. I haven't been outside, but then again, I don't think I want to. I have however had time to make some more bread, but it was so cold at home I had to hug the bowl for an hour to help the yeast with it's work! Here's my dough hugging in action:

Look at it double in size! I never believe that it will work right at the beginning but an hour later - ding! :) I look so chuffed eh? :)

And of course there has to be a photo of the finished product. Just before everyone starts digging in. Drum roll please!

It's a little *dark* on the crust there, but it's alright. We've already had a slice of the little round one and it's awesome! Yay for Zanbread! :)

Now that my second batch has come out well, I think it's earned a place in the recipe card hall of fame. I'm very excited! Who woulda known that baking was so much fun! This might have to be one of the most satisfying hobbies I've ever had! Hahaa. Yay for baking, and yay for bread! :)

Lemon and a Half!

It seems that shopping in proper markets always yields fun surprises. None of this mass produced supermarket stuff. Real, and hilarious products that I always want to photograph. You remember the giant-fun-sized pepper and tomato that I've taken the time to blog about? Well, this time, it's a lemon:

So I'd also like to point out here that I do not have small hands. I take the photo with my hands to illustrate just how giant these things are and well, quite frankly this lemon is huge! It's so funny! And it deserves a whole blog post dedicated to it. Hoorah for giant fruit and veg! :)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Long and Fruitful Day

I'm super tired at the moment, but I thought I'd share 3 photos with you before I go melt into my bed with a film. It's been a very full day - lots of fun and exciting (and intriguing) things have happened!

Today, my Dad and I woke up at 6am to do the first car boot sale of the year! We managed to raise an unexpected amount of money for Pop-Up Adventure Play UK and we are very happy! :)

Immediately after the boot sale, I went to church and then on my travels around Manchester, we stumbled across a Sikh funeral. It was a big deal, with lots of people joining the very slow procession. We think that this impressive float has the special person in it. It was a little bit sad, but also very exciting!

And when I mean we, I mean me and my friend Nadia, who went to visit Tracey and brand-new-fresh-to-the-world daughter. You may remember me throwing a baby shower for Tracey. That's Nadia holding little Isabelle. So cute! And so small! And it was great to see Nadia too - not seen her for ages!!

I finished up meeting with more people then going out for a meal with unlimited salad, and then admiring the sunset as I drove home. Very exciting stuff! :)

Now everything is done and my adventures have been had, I think I'm ready for a bit of rest. I'm going to sleep soundly tonight! :) Wooo! :)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

A Visit to Wyke Children's Center

I went to visit my lovely friend and coursemate Andy yesterday at his work in Wyke. It's just on the outskirts of Bradford and it's a very well thought out centre with lots of activities and services targetted towards different age groups and needs. Why was I there? Well, despite my dissertation being handed in and all I still have 3 essays and a presentation to do, and while this feels like nothing compared to 10k words, it is a group project. So me and my group trooped over to Andy's work and took over the computer suite to do some wonderful Google doc-ing.

But this was not why I wanted to go to Wyke Children's Centre. I totally wanted to go look around! Andy is a playworker just like me and I knew that a service ran by him would be pretty awesome!

First of all, I would like to point out that they have some awesome signs here!

They have a lovely fire pit, with log seating around it.

Lots of pallets and junk to use for play.

Some tubes installed into the ground to hide and play in secret.

They have a boat next to the zip wire. Of course they do. And I remember when Andy told us he went to get this boat as well!

Under a beautiful cherry blossom, there is a tyre swing! :)

And here's an artist photo through one of the tubes.

I really enjoyed looked around the Children's Centre in Wyke. It was really well thought out, especially the playful Fun Care part of it. It as quite small, but kinda reminded me of the adventure playgrounds I visited in Wrexham but a bit more low key. It is a children's centre after all, and Andy and his team have worked hard to ensure that risk and challenge is fully integrated without upsetting those who find safety of paramount importance. I loved it there and am secretly jealous that I haven't a place like that of my own!

I was soooo sad when I realised I had gone home without taking a photo of the chickens that have there! Next time!! Anyway, a big thank you to Andy and his boss for having us yesterday, and I look forward to visiting again! :) We had a lovely and very constructive day! Hoorah for Wyke Children's Centre, and hoorah for playworking friends! :)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Freebie Friday - business cards, cream and tea

It's been a cool week for freebies. It's always cool when it coincides with a trip to Ikea where mini pencils can be obtained! :) I love those mini pencils. Here are the photos of the stuff that was sent to me in the post though - they have made me so happy!

I got 10 super quality business cards from Moo. They are SO good that I want soooo many more. Just to hoard, not to give away. Their marketing strategy worked though - I can't think of any other company that I want to purchase my business cards with now!

We have here a photo of 7 sachets of moisturising cream of some sort and two thingies of tea. Two good ol Yorkshire Teabags.

So there you go! A week of cool freebies. And Ikea pencils. Very exciting stuff! More freeness next week! :)

May the Forth Be With You!

I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I do love the 4th of May. It's just a genius play on words! Anyway, here are some links to celebrate Star Wars Day. 

This is the cutest yoda ever!

I don't know why, but this design just makes me laugh!

This is a very stylish group of geeky cards!

Click on the pics to be taken to the products - good ol' etsy coming up trumps for handmade Star Wars stuff! Hope you enjoy your day, and May The Forth be With You! :) Hahahaha :)