Sunday, 29 December 2013

Laugh of the day

here - have a giggle on me....!

the funniest thing i've seen in ages.....scallops going for a swim!

They look like those little motorized false teeth clattering away!

I just cant stop laughing!

Birdie Love

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Social media sites - Lessons learnt and happiness gained.

I hope you all been enjoying your christmas and holiday break!
I've very much have, enjoying quality time with the family, overeating and becoming intimate friends with the tv!
And like I always think every year, "Gee! Christmas is over helluva quick again!"
It also given me time this year to analyse my recent thoughts and disillusionment of the world and the general feeling of being lost. I know I'm not alone in this.
Friends and close ones confirm they too have similar thoughts from time to time.

One aspect of my thoughts lie on how social media has become such a negative experience for us all. 

I recently come across a post on which you can read by clicking here

Well written and thought through, it was a piece I could identify websites such as Facebook, Twitter and the likes along with Pinterest, Instagram and the millions of blogs out there, as the article from mnmlist says; 

"I read a blog post, or a magazine article, about someone doing something interesting: traveling, using a new productivity system, doing a new kind of workout, brewing artisinal coffee, making bread. And then I want to do that too.And I think we all do this. We all read inspirational things, or hear about them from a friend, and fantasize about ourselves doing the same thing.This is often a good thing — inspiration is good, right? Learning from others is definitely good. But this inspiration can often cause me to forget about what I’ve learnt, and soon I’m heading down a new path, buying a lot of things to support my new pursuit … only to abandon this pursuit when I've read something else.  Isn't it all distracting?  Making us lose our focus and drive in our own lives whilst looking and  comparing someone else's?"

As a great quote go...
With these points in mind, combined with another article that hit closer to home...Are these social sites provoking unnecessary emotions and thoughts inside of us?
Another well written article, one that i think is hitting the nail on the head and identifying a problem previously not identified in society as much as I think it needs to be.
"The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most.
"We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry," researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin's Humboldt University told Reuters."

It is something I can empathize with from my own personal experiences. How many of us succumb in our weaker moments to  "stalking" out friends or even worst, our enemies over the many social sites out there?   How many of us pour over the many holiday snaps, date night pictures and wonderful life moments these people put up for people like us to analyse and assess just how happy they indeed are, and how "wonderful" they advertise their life to be?
I had an incident of harassment via twitter several years back. In parts, my behaviour and theirs and the situation that caused it all to fester and come about was to blame but it went too far. Very personal comments went up and at one point my facebook statuses were copied and pasted word for word (despite blocking me, which was a clear indicator there was some cyber stalking going on) for all to see on twitter...a media site I refused to used from day one as I didn't like how the freedom of speech act was severely abused and misunderstood.  The fall out was huge...I trusted no one. The police at one point was getting dangerously involved and friends and family did not like the situation at all.  And it made me in all honesty as bad as the stalker at one point. There, all over her cyber history were these comments that became so thinly veiled that even friends could tell it was directed at, and were about myself. (bless them, they were good friends for how they dealt with it)
It took months and a lot of beating myself up and soul searching and it was so easy to be consumed with constant checking on twitter, facebook and all the sites to make sure nothing more was said after speaking to the person's partner and hoping it was dealt with and reassured it was. The hyper alert state I was in was exhausting...and it must have been equally exhausted for the person who was putting these comments up. Hate is so consuming for whatever reasons that caused the flame to ignite. I ironically still very much miss and love the person concerned but the trust is long gone.  Who knows what will happen...I just give them as much space as I can afford and besides, I had bigger things to deal with that took prominence over my life like dealing with the aftermaths of a severe head injury and so on...
I now left it behind, I've long since stopped checking twitter and all the social media sites concerning this person. It just kept bringing up all the hurts and feelings and the situation can be as raw as only yesterday....besides I know that the comments posted and the pictures displayed means nothing of what the life behind the screen is actually like.   Pictures tell a thousand words but they can all be wrong. A person can smile a false smile, a glorious holiday snap doesnt reveal the true state of how much someone had to work and sacrifice to be there in that moment the picture was taken.  Words posted up in anger aren't necessarily the ones you actually think and feel.
In a way, I'm grateful for the experience that occurred, no matter how painful. I've taken things on board and learnt lessons.  I do not need to or wish to know what that person now gets up to, or whether they post comments concerning myself or others up. I do not really care if they follow or read what I put up, including this blog post or say ill things. I simply wish them well. I feel no need to check them and the many others out over the web. I dont use facebook or social media very much anymore apart from Instagram which I very much enjoy taking photos and I do not part with anything uncomfortably personal there. I feel more happier for it and stabler emotionally and less distracted.
Think twice before you post a nasty, negative comment on a social media site...after all you create and destroy your own reputation and can isolate yourself from friends who will see it and think twice about trusting or talking to you. The damages you inflict are often far beyond what you comprehend and it often comes back at you more than you think.
Far more importantly, assess yourself on why you are using social media sites and are you using them well? Do you constantly throughout the day check facebook on your phone? Why? and what is the point? How many comments and statuses you actually read makes any difference to you?
Are you any happier for it overall?
Are you walking away feeling fulfilled or deep down, feeling jealous and that you are a failure for living a life less "ordinary" as perceived by you and what the millions of users out there want you to perceive? It is all very well to be inspired by what others put up but the moment it distracts you from getting anything actually done or thinking that now a good thing?
Can you simply be happier with checking social media sites a little less often and simply just live the one wild and blessed life you are given?
After all, the only real life that is happening now as we speak is the one that is through your own eyes and not through a impersonal, distorted screen
Wishing you a safe cyber journey and a happy life.
Birdie Love

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Wishing you all...

a merry christmas and and happy holiday season!
And an awesome 2014 where ever you are in the world!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Right now...snapshots of life

I recently got round to crossing somersetting off my wish list and made for my grandad's birthday, some chocolate and Guinness cupcakes with cream cheese frosting...
the recipe was taken from Nigella which you can find by clicking here
Its so very yummy and the flavour is just amplified by the Guinness which gives it incredible depth and richness...I think you need bake and taste it yourself to appreciate how words cannot capture its flavours!
I will say that for the third time since making a cake to Nigella's recipe, it's been the third time that the frosting has gone wrong.
You read the quantities going into the cake frosting for all three vastly different cakes and you think " much liquid is going into this?!"....cue sloppy frosting that slides off the damn thing....Nigella's recipes are excellent for the cakes themselves but I never trust the recipes for frostings so use at your risk - try reducing some of the "wet" ingredients to help, you can always add more if too dry.

I made my hair into a hair bow inspired by hello kitty! And I can't believe my hair actually did what it was suppose to for once!
A hair sculpture! Teamed with a new blue dress that's very 50's....I automatically gone for the pin-up look baby! (hence the typical pin-up "cheese cake" facial expressions....ahem....sorry about that!)
I think a future will be coming as well as a link or three on how you can do this yourself!
I went to my Christmas party that night and knew I looked good and the compliments that came, confirmed that!

Hairbow for the win!

Christmas makes me think of sugar and spices and a recent meal out where I had churros for dessert has left me appreciating a sugar and cinnamon dusted fried dough....who wouldn't?!
So one night, the temptation was strong, will power was weak and I was in a creative mood, i set about making churros myself and have to say, these were a great success! They are hand rolled then fried in a little oil as opposed to piped out, hence their "gnarly" looks but they still got all the flavour especially after being double rolled in the sugar/cinnamon mix......DEVINE!
A bit time consuming - especially since I had to fry them in a small pan, watched carefully as I don't have a fryer and have notoriously bad luck with oil, but these babies can be easily made once you have the confidence and the art of controlling the give these a go!

I made this quilt! My first ever quilt! I gave it to my mum...and that there is a slice of my dad's home baked Victoria sponge....the man is a gifted baker! Seriously, you cannot believe how good his food tastes!

A Dave from a Dave!
A friend called Dave gave me Dave the minion for christmas....I've banned myself from buying myself any minion related goodies until I go to Universal Studios next month and visit the minion labs there. Otherwise I would have gone overboard by now....Dave is my favourite Minion, just that sweet and shy nature with his back to back craziness is endearing and adorable and to be gifted him from a good mate is all the more excellent!


Making regular trips out at the moment to catch up with friends and exchange gifts with everyone, I think this year has taught me who my dear ones are to me and even though we can't always be there for each other all the time, I know they are there...its quality over quantity and I've learn to relax with that. You can't always have a crazy and active social isnt real and you need a break!

I love this really does for me sum up its the little things in life that gets you smiling and happy!...Like tiny gold star sprinkles on top of your hot chocolate!

A painting I did in about 3 or so hours from start to finish of a friend's doberman as a christmas gift for her. Hope she will like it! I'm not 100% happy with it but considering its the first time I've painted in ages, I think it's pretty good going and a confidence boost in a way.
I know I can paint and draw better than this but my hands need to re-learn how to hold a pencil or a paintbrush and my eyes need to remember how to look and gauge shadows and lines.
What you think?

I hope you are all well - please do link me to your instagram/blog pages! I love to see them!
You can see my instagram account here
Im on there as citybirdie
be great to see you!

Birdie Love

Saturday, 7 December 2013

My baby!

My belovable fur-baby took his first little bunny steps outside today!

He had on a little harness that allowed me to attach a lead and escort him out side for the first time! he goes outside in our courtyard to play in the summer but I wanted to take him outside directly more often especially since we got a small park next to our house where dogs are not allowed inside.

Hopefully he will get more confident and used to the harness then we can get him out a bit more and exploring the world which would be great for him especially as he is a very curious little character! so happy he done so well!

Birdie love

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Oh Comely's care package swap - my story!

 A dear friend of mine posted on her facebook about a forthcoming project hosted by Oh Comely magazine and immediately I was interested and signed up there and then.
Several weeks later I had an email with the details of my swap-partner and began to assemble her package following the little guide sent to everyone...

 "Each box should be a warming collection of gifts and ideas to brighten the grey days.
Here's what to put inside:
Something personal. Eg: a favourite family recipe, a good book you’ve just finished, a playlist of your favourite music.
An inspiring snippet. Eg: newspaper clipping, a photo or illustration you love, the lyrics to a song that strike home.
A wintry treat. Eg: a pair of gloves, your favourite tea, a mini hot-water bottle. The spending guide for each box is £10.
Be creative – if you include a letter you might even start a pen-friendship! Inject it with colours, scents, flavours; make something that you would be pleased to receive. Think outside the - dare we say it - box, and most importantly have fun."

my partner who you can see is called Jenny had a box full of goodies including a sugar mouse, fat quarter of christmas fabric (she loves crafty stuff), tiny christmas themed cookie cutters, fingerless fox gloves, a slice of flapjack and some designer chocolate, some teabags, some fabric jewelry made by me and a book...i know there was more but cannot recall!
I had a great time pulling together all the little bits i think Jenny would like and then writing why I picked them!

plus i had fun wrapping bows around everything and making it all look pretty...and...yeah....!

Off it went into the post for her and soon I myself had one in the post for me!

Ooooooooh! Exciting! Love getting parcels! (excuse my most un-christmassy, halloween themed socks)

From Jenny, I received an awesome little package! The hand warmers and slipper socks have certainly came handy with this recent cold snap! the box so carefully packed with that beautiful spotty tissue paper and the waft of vanilla from the yankee candle incense card was just delicious!

I so love this parcel swap scheme! Not only was it fun to flex your creative muscle and pull together a thoughtful parcel for a stranger, it was just as fun to receive something back! Seeing all the picture on Oh Comely's facebook and twitter pages of people parcels and gifts is so exciting and some of the creativity that gone into them has just been amazing!

you can read more of the project here (click on this link)

I can't wait to do this all over again! I wish there was more of these projects outside of the festive period, it would be lovely to share the love all year around!

what do you think? Would you be up for a parcel swap?

Birdie Love

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

little things that caught my eye...craft share

Its been a while since I last done a craft share...never fear! I got another one here for you as I know how much you enjoy them!

There isn't a theme but just some beautiful little pieces out there that caught my eye and this time, they are from Folksy - I want to promote home grown talent that create and work here on the British shores!  Etsy has all the limelight and deservedly so, but i want to give it's crafty British cousin a shout out!

Upcycled Bed Sheet Dress
up-cycled dress
I'm in love with the beautiful dress and more so in love with designer Eleanor Bland's inspiration behind the creation of this lovely garment!
"After being assigned a presentation subject of "recycled fashion" at university, I decided that instead of just talking about the subject, I would try my hand at making something and the bed sheet dress was born. It was from this first project that my love of upcycling started and eventually grew into Re-fashioned!
I try to retain the original features of items I upcycle where I can, to allow the wearer to appreciate what their garments started life as. This design retains the corners of the fitted sheet it started life as, using them to create a cute hood and puffball skirt."
This is so beautiful in such a delicate and ethereal way and I cant believe its made from a bed sheet!

Plate-spinning, hula-hooping, ball-balancing circus rabbit.

This lovely little lady is just so very sweet but the little story written by creator, Fiona Sant goes one step better!

"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Miss Lily-Mae the Precarious Precision Plate-Spinning Hula-Hooper: a rabbit with balancing skills that are as extraordinary as they are unnecessary. She is most definitely one of a kind. Cool as a cucumber, poised as a petit-pois, she wields her stripey red and yellow poles & spotty red and yellow hoops as if they are mere extensions of her fluffy paws. Two white dinner plates (ok they're actually made of papier mache) spin as fast as you please on the tips (yes, they do actually spin with a little help from your fingers.) All this whilst balancing on a circus ball! "

I'm not always a sculpture or figurines person, but for Miss Lily-Mae....I could make an exception!

Snowflake earrings - White Topaz Earrings - Sterling Silver - Free Shipping
snowflake earrings
William White's beautifully created snowflake earrings are stunningly simple, clean and so delicately beautiful! They very much capture the ambiance of winter and its snowy flurries. I very much can't stop thinking of these little beauties!

Royal Blue Porcelain Epaulettes
porcelain epaulettes
"Inspired by Military decoration of costumes in the National Army Museum, Chelsea. The moulds are made from stitched fabric epaulettes and the buttons from my Grandma's collection from when she served in the Wrens."

OMG! I'm in love with these little babies!I never knew such a thing existed but damn, I need them!
Military smartness but with a delicateness and fragility to them...I like the contrast! I also very much like the way Katie Spragg captures the stitching detailing and uses button from her Grandma's're taking away a little part of her family history with you which is a beautiful touch.

Magpie Moth brooch
moth brooch
The thing that stood out for me was Diane Butcher's choice of colours and fabrics for her brooch. the blue is just stunning and the ruffled edge just makes you want to reach out and touch it so bad! The design and embroidery of the moth is just a beautiful touch. Such a wonderfully tactile piece you can see staying in your jewellery box for years to come.

Crayon skirt
crayon skirt
"My girls are always colouring in and this handy skirt means that they always have all of the crayons they want within reaching distance."

I just look at this lovely skirt and wish I was a kid again! I could have total made use of this!  They say children have great imaginations but I think Caroline Oden who the creator of this fantastic piece has a great one of her own! ....If she ever designed a range for women, i'd love to see it!  After all, we all need to please the child in us  from time to time!

Piggy bank, money box
piggy bank
I cant stop a giggle when I see this cute little piggy's face...the wide eyed surprise and the puckered lips....

"The Piggy bank is made from stoneware buff clay, The body is hand thrown on my wheel and later the ears, legs, curly tail, slot and eyes are added. When dry, after about a week, the pig is fired in my electric kiln, cruel I hear you say...well yes, but necessary. The animal is then glazed before it's second firing to about 1240 degrees. A day later, when cool, a cork is added and then off to market! "

Excellent work Peter Walsh, and the fact that your piece of work are inspired by your new grandson is just a lovely and sweet touch! Enjoy every moment with your grandson!

Fairisle Blanket Grouse
fair isle blanket
I adore that shade of green and that lilac contrasts it like heather on the moors...such a wonderful, earth selection of tones that makes you want to snuggle into its warmth. And Rachel Collins who created this, couldn't have said it better...

"Nothing feels like Scottish Lambswool. I want to celebrate our British heritage and our home grown natural resources. It's better for the environment and better for the economy"

Well said! Come on Britain!

Silver pencil necklace. Artist, Teacher, Note-maker
silver pencil necklace
My primary school class mates thought all HB pencils belonged to me as my initials were too, HB. Little did they actually know it stood for the grade of the pencil lead...not that I would correct them as my pencil case was forever full and I have some pretty cool pencils too! 
Because of this, this little pencil necklace made by Abi Watkins, it just endears to me very much. Isn't it the sweetest little thing?
I can't be the only one who think of school days when I see this little piece am I?

Please do check out these wonderful craftsters' work galleries for more examples of their talents and others on Folksy! There's some amazing talent on this little island and it all deserves a special shout out!
Nice work everyone and keep it up and keep that crafty flag flying for Britain!

As always, 
Birdie love to you all!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Of pictures

I had a brilliant time taking my family away for an activity weekend in a little luxury lodge. I worked hard and saved money and paid for it and made sure everyone had a great time. We did horse-riding, archery, fencing and tree-top assault course as well as swimming and have spa treatments. One the sunday we had a huge christmas-style dinner as we knew we werent going to see each other much over the festive month and had presents I gave to everyone and enjoyed table top games, home baked food such as the profiteroles by me and the bagels by my very excellent dad! It was a great weekend and a great time building memories and good times! I'm proud of myself for organising and pulling off what was a great little get-away!

Love this picture of one of the last glorious days of indian summer

Went with my godson for his first ever visit to Santa!....he was more fascinated by the lights than the man himself...!

The nights have gotten colder and everyone is already snuggling up for cosy warmth...including Indy the piggy!

Went out with my girlies for a girly lunch which was brilliant as always especially to catch up with them and consume lots of wonderful food!

I really been enjoying this change in the seasons, especially with my mind set of looking and taking in the small things for what they are and enjoying the beauty they offer. Be it natural beauty...

artificial beauty...

Beauty from the streets...(its a real banksy!)

...and beauty with my loved ones and all the things we do.

I got to meet one of my heroes a few days ago! I'm so happy I got that chance!
I met Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, a British celebrity chef, tv personality, journalist, food writer and campaigner for "real food" and the owner of River Cottage franchise/restaurants. He inspired a lot of my cooking to date, and because of him I now always look and ask where does my food come from, the welfare of animals as after all healthy animals gives good meat and to date he is the sole reason why supermarkets now primarily stock free range chicken and eggs. He knows we cant be organic and vegetarian but he asks us to respect all food and enjoy it at its best. He also for me, inspired seasonal cooking. Why would you cook something pass it's best our of its growing season and we are all so badly out of touch with where and when our food comes to us. Total respect to this man! plus...he loved my hair! (i had a fan-crush and blurted out "I dyed it for you Hugh!" total cringe-fest!)
Made my day, week and month for sure!

Oh...and my bangs are back!

If you are curious of what I'm getting up to and don't see any posts here, you can check out me out on instagram riiiiiight here (click it here man!)

hope you are all well!

Birdie Love to you all