Thursday, 28 February 2013

Sunshine and Smiles :)

Today was another lovely day. I took time to go outside and pootle around in Manchester. There's a lovely canal system underneath Manchester, so I took the opportunity to wander around a little and take some photos.

Blue skies and red brick are such a vibrant contrast!

Look! A little house for the geese and ducks on the canal!

59/365 - Zan enjoys sunshine and blue skies! 

I found a baby Mario on a mosaic wall!

For some reason, I really like the composition of this pic.

Zan by water. So calming.

I really like the texture of the water here. And the colours. Yum.

I like being outside, especially when it's sunny. It doesn't really even matter when it's cold but today it was actually a little bit warm. Which was lovely. I hope it gets warmer soon because my friend Nadia's getting married in less than a month, and I don't think my huge blue winter coat goes with my bridemaid dress!

Hoorah for sunshine and smiles! :)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Little Walk

I went to pick up Morgan from the airport today and now she is back with me for a little bit. Today, in a bid to fight off sleep, we went for a little walk. This is what we did on our walk:

We admired spray painted flowers

Basked in the glory of astoundingly hideous dress.

We watched the world go under our feet.

58/365 - Zan reads about play during a break from her walk.

It is really nice to have Morgan back. It's also really nice to go outside and feel the sun. Blue skies and sun - it's got to be my most favourite combination of weather. Doesn't have to be warm, but it does have to be sunny! :)

I think it's probably time to sleep. Took me far too long to write those very few sentences. Goodnight! :)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Spot of Painting

I spent a good portion of my day today preparing my outfit for a special fund raising event for Pop-Up Adventure Play. It's very exciting because it's being hosted by my work, but all raised monies will be donated to my charity. It's pretty awesome if you ask me! My worlds have collided a little, but I'm sure I'll work out when to wear which hat. Here's the poster I made to promote our event:

We'll be auctioning off some awesome video game related products have been kindly donated by game reps, doing some friendly game tournaments, and also having a cake competition. Because cake is important in every aspect of life, even video games.

During the day of 2nd March we'll all be dressed up as video game characters too. I'm pretty excited because which other shop on the high street would be so invested in Cosplay? I've also done this before recently when the Hobbit came out, so I'm not shy to some confused/amused looks. For this Saturday, I'll be serving customers in full character, but what character will this be? Here's a clue, perhaps:

57/365 - Zan breaks out the paints to make her cosplay outfit.
So why would I be painting a piece of cardboard, blue?

This isn't much of a clue but I actually don't think I could show you anything else otherwise you'd know! It's a super popular character so... either try guessing, or come and see me to find out!

So, if you're free this Saturday and you're in Manchester, why don't you pop into my work and come and take pic of me! And if you have any spare pennies, come and put it in my bucket - every little helps to support children's free play. Woohoo! :)

Monday, 25 February 2013

Bread-hogs :)

I have been inspired by recent baking photos on the internet, especially this pic so decided it was a good time to make some bread. Not just any old bread though - hedgehog breads. I used a basic white bread mix and then took some scissors to a rounded ball. This is what they look like out of the oven:

56/365 - Zan makes friends with freshly baked hedgehog bread.

Look a whole family of hedgehogs. The two at the front aren't quite as defined as the two at the back, but the're cute all the same :) Hehe! And delicious! :)

King of the Breadhogs! :)

I was imagining for a minute that if I ever host a woodland themed birthday party, I'd totally make these! I could make them into sandwiches or serve them with soup. They're so cute and silly and just a little bit of fun and eventhough my parents both thought the hedgehogs were a bit daft, they couldn't say it without smiling. They make me so happy! :) Hoorah for baking bread hedgehogs! :) Yay! :)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Hello Moon!

The moon was huge today and really really bright. After admiring it for a couple of minutes, I remembered that my friend Donna, one half of Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning, really really likes the moon. So I thought I'd have a go at taking some moon photos.

After a few attempts, I realised that I didn't quite have the right equipment, space and experience for my moon photos. This one's pretty good, but it's not really very clear.

55/365 - Zan takes photo of the moon. 
This was my favourite. All mysterious and moody.

This one looked a little bit creepy actually, but it's quite cool too :)

There was quite a lot of cloud cover tonight so I didn't get to have a clear shot of me moon, but it was still fun to do for a few minutes. It's also kinda awesome because someone else right now will be taking photos of the moon too. Reminds me of the American Tale "Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight..."

Before I burst into song, I have to celebrate the moment with the spoken word of one of tiny nephews in Hong Kong. Said with sincerity, concern and awe:


Saturday, 23 February 2013

Nadia's Hen Do :)

I was really pleased and excited to be celebrating my friend Nadia's Hen Do with her. I've known her for over 15 years so I'm super chuffed to see her getting ready to get married. Here's what we got up to:

We celebrated with afternoon tea - Nadia's favourite! :) Look at those sandwiches and cakes! :)

Here's Fiona lamenting about calories and fat content.

Look at us, a bunch of lovely ladies! :)

Next we went pottery painting - here's Nadia with her concentration face.

54/365 - Zan creates Derek the Dragon!

Everyone takes a brief break from creativity for a quick photo - smile! :)

We finally go and have a meal where Nadia is met by her balloon - on the back there's a Chinese greeting that says something like "A blessed relationship" or something like that. Courtesy of Gifty

Last photo of the night - 10th time lucky we get all of us in the pic! Hoorah!

It was a lovely afternoon and evening - it was wonderful to see everyone and we had a great day celebrating Nadia's friendship and weddings! More wedding blogposts coming soon! :) Congratulations, Nadia! :)

Friday, 22 February 2013

Freebie Fridays - loo roll, zombie kit and other bits and pieces

There is no logical grouping of this week's freebies. They're just really random things, and oddly only one item is edible. The whole collection pales in comparison to last week's haul, but that's okay. Let's see the pic:

53/365 - Zan admires her freebies for it's eclectic variety.
We have:
A 4-pack of super soft toilet tissue
A tube of dissolvable vitamins
A packet of seeds
A thingy of  hair stuff 
A zombie kit
A can of white hair spray
A bottle of fake blood
A tube of very expensive hand cream

Although the quantity of free stuff can't compare to my previous week's acquisition, I reckon the money it would have cost me to buy this week's stuff in real life would have far exceeded last week's loot. I mean, the hand cream alone was supposed to be 8 quid! Gah! As for the Zombie Kit. Well, I'll leave it to you to work out how I managed to get that one! :)

So yes, admire the Freebie Fridays Page of Glory. Or at one point I'll give it some clever fantastical name. Any suggestions? Hoorah for free stuff! :)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Zan, Dance!

I've been working very hard today on various little projects at the computer, so my play time involved dancing in my chair to various Youtube videos.

52/365 - Zan dances to Pomplamoose!

Zan also danced to Walk Off the Earth!

I also danced in the car when I was driving around, which, by the way, is not advised. But it was fun at traffic lights! :) Hoorah for good music, and hoorah for silly chair dances! :)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Adventure Time! :)

Today, I met my friends Ric, Rachel and Lee and went on an adventure. It started off with some awesome and slightly daft...biblical.... knitting....

The biblical scenes photographed above have all been knitted, and mostly by one lady. It was very impressive, super creative and really funny. A great start to our adventure.

We then had a super scenic drive to Derbyshire where we saw snow, cars and sheep. We were a bit hungry when we got there so we decided to stop at a cool pub and have some pie.

This pie was huge. Chicken, leek and mushroom. It was delicious.

Our meal was accompanied by the most amazing array of condiments. We were very impressed.

The next part of our adventure involved 245 steps down through a natural rock formation and then up again. Welcome to the Blue John Caverns.

It's very difficult to get decent photos of dark, atmospheric places like a cave, but here are some. :)

51/365 - Zan has an adventure with great friends. 

When we came out of the caverns we were super cold and super tired so we went in search of some tea. We stumbled across the Hidden Tea Room in Castleton, and were very surprised to be eating scones with our tea.

The whole tea room was covered with money from all over the world.

The slightly eccentric chef/owner/host made me pose for this photo.

This was a delicious scone. With delicious clotted cream and jam.

It was really nice to spend the day with my college friends, and discovering things together. We did a whole load of things, took lots of photos, and just had lots of fun. My favourite part of the day was probably the surprise scone, but I also really enjoyed exploring the cavern, and really liked the knitted donkeys. So it was all very enjoyable, and super playful. 

I love spending time with my friends Ric and Rachel, but they live really quite far away from me and I miss them when they're away. I hope I'll see them again soon. In the meantime, there will be more adventures with the local PMs! Hoorah for my college friends and hoorah for adventures! :)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

20 Children and Pile of Boxes

It was day two of the Coop Academy of Manchester's Pop-Up Adventure Playground today. Having slept hard last night after day one, I was really looking forward to it today. The sun was out and the children arrived in little crowds. It was so much fun! Here are the highlights:

50/365 - Zan enlists young volunteers for photo greatness.

This little girl enjoyed her time at Pop-Up so much yesterday, she came back with her friend again today! And carried on wallpapering the outside of her house!

Look at the bustle of play today - 20 children and 12 adults :)

This list is so cute. Vika is her dad and Sunny is her brother. She carried on with her list later that went on to toys, cousins and shoes.

Look, I fit into one of the dens!

All the children with big dens decided to make a super den! Look how wonderful it is. At one point, I looked around and there were no children in sight because they were all in the super den!

This was my temporary control solution for speed crawling twins and their sister. But then they worked out they could climb out of the box and so they were off again. The twin on the right is absolutely eating everything he could find. The twin on the left was the one who worked out escape routes.

I then trapped them in the hexagon stools, just so their mum could go to the loo briefly. It worked wonderfully - it took them a long time to work out how to get out.

I'm super tired, but super happy. Everyone was so pleased with the day with children giving me top marks and parents giving me wonderful feedback. It was a great space to play, and it was also handy to have recycling bins on site! :) Hoorah for Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds and hoorah for play! :)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Back at Play

It's been a while since I've ran an event with children in it. Mostly they have been adult trainings, or meetings, or boring stuff like that. But today, I got to play with children who were visiting a secondary school! I was at Cooperative Academy of Manchester today running a Pop-Up Adventure Playground. Here are my favourite moments:

This little girl was having so much fun sticking tape inside the box that she totally didn't realise that most of it was sticking to her hair.

This little girl was having a whale of a time wall papering the outside of her house.

49/365 - Zan observes play in action and admires it's momentum.
This was the moment in a play event when it gathers enough speed and for a few glorious moments, nobody needs me. I know every playworker knows this moment. You sit back, watch and enjoy.

This was a wonderful creation made my another little girl - a ballet dancing doll. It twizzles round if you move it!

These little girls had soooo much fun with the bag full of bottle caps.

Peek-a-boo, and hysterical laughter. Made me so happy!

Finally, this little boy and his dad worked so hard with such quiet concentration, (more on the Dad's part) that they were so chuffed when they completed their robot! :) Hoorah! :)

More on this tomorrow when I have day 2 of the fun. I'm sure it'll bring more surprises and laughter! :) Now I think I need a nap to recover from tig and duck duck goose! :)