Thursday, 30 July 2015

Edible Fun

To celebrate my birthday with my college friends, my friend Lee took me to a Pick-Your-Own farm. I was super excited - a fun adventure where I get to eat the fun? Amazing, even before we'd set off. Here are some photos:

There were sooo many things to pick! We were spoilt for choice so we got some of everything!

Look at all the fruits available? We picked strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, red currants and gooseberries! Yaaay! :) It was super cheap too!

Here is Lee in between the rows of raspberry bushes - they were so tall!

I really enjoyed my time at the farm. Both Lee and I love taking photos so picking fruit together gave us the same pacing - sometimes pausing for a pic, sometimes picking berries. The site was lovely too -  it's really big and super child friendly! In fact, there were children everywhere, but it didn't seem like it because there were so much to do! I will definitely go back again during another season to sample other freshly grown foods!

After a quick cup of tea, Lee and I were joined by Shazia. We have planned for a while to go and eat a super giant dessert together, and so today was the day. After a light main course, here is our dessert:

The dessert really is as big as it seems in this pic!

We did really well and basically ate the lot, and I am totally still full right now! Haha! So happy though and looking forward to the next crazy dessert! :)

I had a really really nice day and I'm really glad that I have these two lovely friends in my life. Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me - you are amazing!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Leveling Up

It was my birthday today, and long beforehand, I had already planned to spend a day doing things for other people. I didn't know what it would be at first, but I eventually settled on the following:

Part 1) - I did a car boot sale
I haven't done one of these for a long time, but we had some residual things to get rid of from the house move last year. So my parents and I gathered them everything up and woke up at the crack of dawn this morning to attend a local car boot sale to sell as much as we could. The money we earned from this would be donated to two of my favourite charities at the moment (that aren't Pop-Up). It had a lovely biblical poetry about this, so I really wanted to do all I could today to raise as much money as I could.

This is me at the car boot sale with my mum manning the shop.

Part 2) - I invested my earnings
We earned about £40 at the car boot sale. One half I'm donating to the Boaz Trust, the charity I have been supporting since October by cooking food for asylum seekers. And the other half, I am donating to the Porch Boxes Project, a local charity that acts as a food bank type place for those who don't have anything. To do this donation, my mum and I took my newly earned £20 to a supermarket and bought as much as we could with it. My mum and dad help out at this charity every Wednesday, so they will be taking all my goods to the warehouse to be distributed.

Here's me, surrounded by canned good, ready for donation.

Part 3) - I had an indoor barbecue
My parents surprised me by buying in a bunch of seafood just for my birthday, eventhough I asked them not to do anything - how sweet! We were going to barbecue outside, but it started to rain really badly, so we had an indoor barbecue instead. It was awesome.

Here are the rentals, yes that is an indoor barbecue and on the barbecue is an Oyster, a massive prawn, chicken wings and sausages.

I spent the rest of my evening quietly doodling and watching TV, wearing the chicken hat that my sister and brother-in-law bought me. What is this hat, you might ask? Well here it is:

New favourite hat! Yes!

It was a nice, chilled out day and I'm really happy to have spent the day doing things for others with my rentals. It feel good for my insides, spending a day that wasn't really thinking about me. I may be growing older, but I hope I'm getting awesomer in the process. Happy birthday me! :)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A Moment in Play

I'm walking, like I do most evenings, but today it is beautiful. The sun is warm and pale, giving the world an extra twinkle as it shines. I am in the field in the park next to the dinosaur, and a gentle wind is blowing.

This isn't a photo from the day, but is a pic of the field I was in.

I smile and laugh and sing as I listen to songs noone else can hear. Then all of a sudden the conditions are right. One of my favourite songs is on, and I start dancing. Then I am running, and then there are three excitable dogs. They are running with me, and one gives me a stick. We all run together and it feels free and I am not thinking, I see green leaves dancing and the sun makes everything glisten as the and the wind brushes my face. I am laughing and running and twirling and singing and the dogs run around me. Then I throw the stick and they all jump up and we keep on running and I am beaming.

And then the dogs are gone and my song has finished. I feel exhilarated, amazing, alive. The moment was wonderful, so freeing, and though fleeting, set my heart aflame. It was a moment where all inhibitions were left behind, a moment where there was no thinking, just being. It was, I think, a moment of play, the intensity of which I have not felt for a long time. It has made my heart sing, and has created a permanent memory in my core.

I take my moment and walk on home, happy that this is mine, and hoping that there will be more. More for me, and more for others because this feels great and every person, nomatter how big or small, should have an opportunity to play.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Auntie-To-Be, Again!

I'm really pleased to have done he official photos for my sister and brother-in-law in the final stages of pregnancy. My sister is glowing and happy, and it's nice to see. I was really pleased to take pics with my bro and sister-in-law a few months ago, and I was chuffed again to be doing it for my other sibling too.

It was actually just thinking about raining outside so we only snapped a few pics and then ran back to the car. This one's my favourite, so I will share it with you all:

Sheltering from the rain on a playground, here's my sister and brother-in-law with my future nephew! Hoorah!

The happy parents-to-be asked me to paint their baby room for them. I really didn't know what to do, so we talked a lot about different things that they liked and very soon an idea blossomed in my head. It was very satisfying to paint anything I wanted on a blank wall and having stared intently at a wall all weekend, all I want to do is paint another one.

I decided to paint a tree. It was in neutral colours just in case they have baby number two. And so, you know, I end up with a niece instead. Chances are fairly slim, but you know. Just in case.

I thought that I could also add to the tree in the future, or ask the kids to help contribute to the tree when they get older. So right now, it's just a very simple. My sister is going to buy some wall decals to stick onto one of the branches while the children are still too young to decide what they want. And yes, the branches are on the shelves as well.

And here's a close up of my work. It took quite a while actually, and is bears a resemblance to my other, smaller little works of art.

So, painting, baby shower, pregnancy photoshoot and a quick meet up with Ricky - that was my trip to London in a nutshell. I had a nice time and am glad to have spent some time with my sister before everything happens. The next time I see her, she'll be a Mum - so exciting! I'm really looking forward to meeting the next new person in our family! :) Yaaay! :) Everyone be safe, and be well, that's all I'm asking! I know that God will bless this little family. :)

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The Day After The Day Before

After yesterday's baby shower, I spent the day taking it easy. I continued painting the baby room and I also met up with my lovely friend Ricky. I've not seen Ricky since last October, so we had a lot to talk about. Combined with delicious food, we had an awesome time just laughing and hanging out.

When we were eating, we saw a lady wander past us with a giant watermelon so we had to go and find one for ourselves. They are SO big, they are amazing! Ricky tells me it was really heavy!

It was lovely hanging out with Ricky today - a nice break from the intensity of painting. I'm almost done with the baby's room and will be heading home from London tomorrow. Some time tomorrow I'll also post up images of the newly decorated room, and some photos of a little photoshoot I did with the new family :)

Saturday, 11 July 2015

A Shower of Babies

I'm in London! This particular visit is all about babies because, of course, apart from my brand new niece, I'm also going to be getting a brand new nephew! Hoorah! My sister is due very soon, and I have come down to keep her company as she has just started her maternity leave. And also while I'm here, I'm decorating her baby room and attended her baby shower which was today. Here are a couple of photos of my day:

Here she is, the mum-to-be!

I promise there were other people at this baby shower, not just me, Chris and a barbecue.

Sibling selfie!

Here's Zan with the little boy that belongs to the host lady who had us for the barbecue.

Here's me, dressed up and ready for yoghurt!

This is the pavlova that I made for the occasion. Yaaay! :)

And of course, a little time to hang out with Lisa :) She's my future nephew's Godmother!

It was a fun day! There were presents, there was food, there was cake, there was laughter - what more could one want? I met some lovely people and had a nice time celebrating my sister and her pregnancy. I'm excited about being an Auntie all over again and I'm excited for the adventures ahead for my sister and my brother-in-law. Hoorah!

I'm down here for a couple more days then back homeward to Manchester to get some work done before the next PhD deadline. But the fun's not over yet! More to come soon! Sleep first - goodnight!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Food with Friends

Two days in a row, I went to Didsbury to have food with friends. I don't know how that happened, but I didn't really mind. It was good food with good company so it was worth the long journey there.

On Monday I met up with some girls I grew up with at church. We went to an Italian place and I had this ginormous pizza. Every last bit of it. One of the girls had just come back from HK for a holiday so it was the perfect excuse to meet up. Even though she wasn't very well, it was still nice to chat and have a good giggle. And also attempt a crazy selfie.

Here we all are! Me, Wing Chi, Fiona, Angel and that's Lisa on the right hand side there. We're all there, kinda! :)

On Tuesday I met with my college friends to try out a new burger place. They had some crazy burgers in there, and I decided to go with the deep fried burger - oh yes! It was actually less greasy and heart-attack-inducing than I thought it would be, and I ate it all. We gathered to eat with J, who normally lives somewhere in Europe so it was a nice opportunity for us all to catch up.

Here's Dave, Lee and J,

And here's a Zan and Shazia selfie.

It was nice to get outside and talk to real people. While my work with Pop-Up is incredibly rewarding, I can spend days at a time only talking to people via Skype and my parents will be the only 2 real people I see. They are great and everything, but sometimes I forget what real life is like. It's an occupational hazard, unfortunately, but having reasons to go out and meet friends really helps me to be a little less crazy, and a little more balanced. Hoorah!

So hoorah for a wonderful couple of evenings out, and hoorah for all my lovely friends.