Little Bits From Today

Happy bits today were...
Seeing our Guinea pigs snuggled up in their new furry hanging house.
Seeing joy for the love of life on Dragonfly's face.
Enjoying a fruit and vegetable salad for lunch while dragonfly took a nap.
Feeling content after a very long and very busy day.

Happy Things

The best bits of today were ...
Watching two deer in the field at the back of our garden having their breakfast.
A long chat over cups of tea with a lovely friend. 
Painting a fairy wand with Hummingbird.
Walking to school in the sun shine again.
Enjoying a tough workout. (but paying for it now!).
Snuggling in bed with my boy, dragonfly while he gently drifts off to sleep....x

Happy Things From Today

Seeing Dragonfly's face light up and hearing his shout upon seeing a tractor in the field on the walk to school.

Seeing Hummingbird beaming face as she hurtled across the playground to me at home time.

Watching Bumblebee and Hummingbird's excitement at finding thrown out fake flowers by the school bins and realising that they could bring them home to play with.

Watching Bumblebee and Hummingbird walk home chatting about the wedding they were going to have when they got home (the flowers inspired the wedding plans).

Seeing Bumblebee giving Hummingbird a piggie back part of the way home because Hummingbirds new school shoes were rubbing.

Seeing Twinkle the Guinea pig lounging in her new snuggly fluffy hanging house.

Enjoying an unxpectly hot September day, it's been boiling today.

Enjoying a few minutes on my morning dog walk, standing in the woods with my eyes closed listening to the bird song.

Spending a few minutes testing out a new cross stitch design and realising it looks better than what I had in my head...

Painting again...

I have decided to start painting again.
I have done the odd painting over the years but so little I am ashamed to say.
It was in my teens at art college that I last painted with any consistencey.
Anyhow several days ago something just felt right. I remembered bizarrely my love of gouache, a medium I haven't thought about in a long time.
I order a cheep sketchbook and set of gouache off the Internet and waited patiently for them to arrive.
Since then I am proud to say I have painted almost everyday.
I am recording my sketchbook painting journey on my instgram account.
Here are a few of my pictures....
I had a little play with making the turtle a black shape with the sun behind shining into the blues and greens of the sea.
Working instinctively painting one of our 1970s wooden deer.
Playing about with perspective, deliberately making the cup and saucer flat.
Beautiful little strawberry the Guinea pig, I think this is my favourite so far.
I am really please with what I have already learned in such a short time. Most important of all, I am really really enjoying my little daily painting sessions.....mmmmhh what to paint today?

A Tale of Two Heads

A couple of animals heads to go on Bumblebee and Hummingbird's bedroom wall were requested.
First the decision on who was making what...
Bumblebee decided on a fox and hummingbird decided on a Guinea pig!
After making the initial head shape with screwed up newspaper and masking tape we started to paper mache.
We used PVA glue and lots of pieces of torn newspaper.
It was a beautiful sunny day...
Paints were set up for dragonfly while we all got sticky.
Dragonfly loves to paint pictures...
Dragonfly loves to paint his head...
Dragonfly loves to feel the paint between his fingers...
But he LOVES eating paint the best!
The first coat is done. I think we need to do at least a couple more before we start to paint. Personally I won't be eating my paint though!

Blueberry and Oatmeal Muffins with Naughty White Chocolate Sprinkles

I have often, unsuccessfully, tried to make muffins. They usually end up flat rubbery round things which have a strange chewy consistency...but not this time. So I thought I would share my recipe...

250g self raising flour
85g fine oatmeal
150g sugar
Small punnet of blueberries
2 eggs
50ml olive oil
150ml milk

Makes about 12 muffins

1. Put the flour, oatmeal and sugar into a large bowl.
2. Measure out your oil and milk and beat in your eggs.
3. Add the liquid mix to the dry mix and stir as little as possible. There may be a few floury lumps round the edges this is the key, do not over stir.
4. Mix in the blueberries as gently as you possibly can.
5. Place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tray and spoon your mixture equally to each case.
6. Pop in a 200c, 400F, gas mark 6 oven for 15 minutes or until the tops are just starting to change colour and they feel springy to touch.
8. As soon as you take them out of the oven, sprinkle with your chosen naughty chocolate sprinkles. 
9. Let them cool a little before moving to a cooling rack.
10. Put the kettle on, make yourself a brew and enjoy one of your lovely muffins. Enjoy. 

Zoo Photography

A couple of weekends ago we went up to Dalton in Furness in Cumbria to the South Lakes Safari Zoo. It is free entry until 12/2/16, bonus.
Apart from having very excited children! it gave me a great opportunity to have a play with my DSLR. I was lucky enough to get the Pentax K-50 camera a couple of birthday ago. To be quite honest I have developed quite a love hate relationship with this camera. Going from a basic point and shoot to a 'proper camera' has been very frustrating for my sleep deprived baby brain. I was pregnant when I first relieved it and our little boy still does not sleep through the night, often waking several times.
I just haven't had the time or energy to study or even begin to understand how it works. I have had several books out from the library but often they have been returned without even being opened, tut,tut... but determined to get off manual mode I have kept having a go, getting frustrated, going back to my point and shot, then picking it up again.
The trip to the zoo was the first light at the end of the tunnel as I am finally starting to understand it!
It was also a great opportunity to just take photos for the love of it.
Peacock photo as requested by Hummingbird, they are one of her favourite animals along with hedgehogs!
 I love this photo,
 Technically it is over exposed but I love how the cockatoo blends into his background.
This time one of my favourite animals, anteaters, they were very lively at this visit running round like crazy things. I love how this photos almost makes them look like woolly mamoths.
 Another of my favorate photos. I love the expression on her face, her big trout pout.
 Hummingbird was quite taking with the giraffes and how tall they were.
 Beautifully colourful duck. I could use this palette of colours for so much. A beautiful cosy interior room, a crochet blanket, snuggle cushions, patchwork....aargh my mind is a whirrrr....
 I quickly took this photo on our way to the cafe for a warm and a portion of chips each.
 Bumblebee's favourite animal, the fennec fox.
 My most favourite animal ever, alas it was asleep, the sleeping sloth, best I could do....
There is a great big enclosure you can walk through full of condors and vultures. They fly above your head...
or block your path looking very hungry!
One took a particular liking to D, tugging on his coat, and the straps of the baby carrier. It even had a peck at one of dragonflies boots.
Speaking of hungry, this leopard was sat waiting patiently for its lunch. It was particularly interest in any small children running along the side of its cage!!!
None of my pictures are of proffesional standard I know, but for a beginner using a manual focus lense, I am really rather chuffed. I took loads of photos and loads were blurred but maybe this camera and do have a future together after all.