Tuesday, 30 April 2013

May Blogging Challenge

I know some of you are happy A-Z challenge is finally over, but I am a little sad, I've really enjoyed it and its been challenging (it helps that I don't have a job).

So I will be doing the blog everyday in May challenge starting from tomorrow, thanks to Me over at http://sheethalsusan89.blogspot.com/ for letting me know about this. Here is the link if you fancy giving it go:


Z = Zoo

I’m not particularly a big fan of Zoo’s or seeing animals caged up. I suppose it depends on the animal and conditions they are kept in how I feel.

We recently went to OC Zoo which is located inside Irvine Park in the city of Orange, about 20 minutes drive from where we live. The Zoo's focus is on animals native to the Southwestern United States. It’s a small zoo and it only costs $2 admission, which is very cheap. You don’t get much for $2 in Southern California!

It’s a lovely zoo and doesn’t take long to wander around. They have a little farm section with goats, chickens, sheep, rabbits etc. The goats are very cute and you can feed and groom them.

We saw Coyotes, Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Racoons, Beavers, Bears and a variety of bird species. The Bobcat looked very sad and kept looking at me...he was my favourite.

We were there at feeding time for the Mountain Lions, they are pretty big when stretched out.

Outside of the zoo, there is a little train which we decided to go on because we thought it would take us all over Irvine Park (it doesn’t). For $5 each, you get a 10 minute ride which didn’t really go very far so I was a little disappointed.

My final artwork for A-Z today is based on the little train ride:

I can't believe the A-Z challenge is over, I feel very sad. I have really enjoyed it and hope to keep up with blogging daily. I've visited some really lovely and interesting blogs and met some great people. I hope you will all continue to blog too and keep following me and commenting. I've appreciated each and everyone of the comments you have left and that is what has kept me going throughout the challenge. A big THANK YOU to you all!

I need to set myself a new challenge now (Any ideas?)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Y= Yesterday

Yesterday was Sunday, a day to relax...or so I thought. Rich suggested going to the beach so we drove towards Laguna Beach and he said he wanted to go to Thousand Steps Beach, which from the name rang alarm bells straightaway (Despite the name, there are only approx 220 steps). Anyway, we parked up and walked over towards the entrance and I saw the steep narrow steps. I had on beach flip flops (seeing as I thought we were going to the beach) and wished I was wearing my trainers.

People were coming up the steps huffing and puffing, someone started doing press ups right in front of us and they were talking about going back down and up the steps again (fitness freak alert!). There seemed to be quite a few people using the steps for exercise, including one guy walking up and down with a big bolder above his head (weird?). Anyway, after a careful trek down, we got to the beach and it was very nice, but it was a little cloudy whereas it had been bright blue skies and sunshine 10 minutes away back in Irvine. We sat down anyway and read for a little while and I took a few photographs.

I knew going back up the steps would be an issue for me (I’m not the fittest person in the world) so I took it slowly. Rich however went up really quickly and reached the top way before me. I guess that’s love for you! My legs were really shaky at the top and hurt today.

My artwork today is called ‘On The Beach’:

What did you do yesterday?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X = X-Men

I struggled with the letter X, but then saw on the news yesterday that filming has begun on a new X-Men film. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is due out in 2014. If you haven’t seen the other three movies you should do, I quite enjoyed them! The X-Men films are about a group of superheros, based on the Marvel comic series (the same as Iron Man, Spider Man, The Avengers, The Hulk etc) but trust me, you don’t need to be into comics to enjoy these films.

They are worth watching just to see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine:

I was excited to read that Peter Dinklage has been recruited to play the main villain in the new movie.

He currently stars in Game of Thrones and he is my favourite character in this series, he is an awesome actor! Check him out in this You Tube clip. WARNING...don't watch if you don't like bad language or mild violence!!!

Another film due to be released in 2014 that I’m excited about is based on a book I read ‘Before I go to sleep’. If you’ve not read this book, by author S J Watson you should do, its a psychological thriller and a bestseller.

With it being the weekend, i’m not feeling very creative so I will leave you with a letter X print and an arty looking photograph I took yesterday by the pool:

Are there any films you are looking forward to seeing in 2013/2014?

Friday, 26 April 2013

W = Weather

Aah the weather, us brits love to talk (and moan) about the weather. Its too cold/wet/hot windy....it’s an easy way to start a conversation.

The UK is known as having miserable weather but it’s not always like that, honestly. We tend to see a bit of all the seasons which is nice. It wouldn’t be known as the green and pleasant land without a bit of rain. The UK is surrounded by the sea, which gives it a varied climate. We never know what the weather will be like from one day to the other. It can be sunny one day and rainy the next.

The second it is sunny in the UK, everyone is out and about with shorts, t-shirts and sunglasses on, mowing lawns and putting the washing outside to dry. The beaches are packed and BBQ food is sold out at the supermarket.

The BBC sums it up as:

"The British summer, it has been said, consists of two fine days and a thunderstorm."

Which I guess is fairly accurate!

In comparison, where I have moved now to Irvine, CA, the weather is nearly always hot and sunny (just how I like it). Visit California says:

"There’s one number to remember when you’re talking about Orange County weather: 70. That’s the approximate percentage of sunny days AND the average temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. Summers are moderate to hot, but proximity to the ocean brings cool evening breezes. Winters are mild with little rainfall."

Here is the current weather back home in Nottingham UK, compared to where I am in Irvine, CA:

I will miss seeing all the different seasons but I think I can live with that! I used to joke that I had SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the UK which is known as a winter depression, caused by reduced exposure to sunlight.

My favourite season is Spring because that's when my birthday is (so I get lots of pressies) and that's when all the flowers start coming out and birds start tweeting.

My artwork today is based on the seasons:

What's the weather like where you are?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

V = Vintage

Modern Vintage is one of the biggest trends at the moment and I love it. It’s hard to define but it is basically a mixture of old and new styles. Click here for some great examples of Modern Vintage on Pinterest. Fossil is also a great example of modern vintage as I mentioned in F = Fossil.

Wherever I go, I see modern vintage items in fashion, stationary and household goods. Like this beautiful Bridal Shower poster from Etsy:

When my mum visited me recently in CA, she bought me some canisters I’d ordered from a UK shop John Lewis which have a modern vintage feel. I love them and they brighten up my kitchen. I also have a smeg fridge freezer which is considered retro style, here it is back in our kitchen in the UK. I’d wanted one for ages and see it as a work of art.

When sorting through things back home, I came across my mums old typewriter which I consider to be Vintage. I’ve based my artwork on this today:

Do you like Modern Vintage?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U = Upper Class

I have been lucky enough to fly Upper Class twice now. Once when travelling to India with work and again when we flew to LAX from the UK for our California adventure. Both times were paid for by the companies! I would never be able to pay for Upper Class myself, I normally fly economy, even on my honeymoon.

I have flown Upper Class with both Emirates and Virgin Atlantic and I have flown economy with both too. One thing I noticed is that you get treated completely different by the air hostesses in Upper Class to when you sit in economy (especially with Virgin Atlantic). I suppose I should have expected this seeing as the price is extorinate. I did enjoy Upper Class, but don’t think it is worth what they charge.

The best things are being able to lie down, having a proper pillow and a choice of meals, all served on proper plates and with cutlery. I won't deny that I didn't enjoy the Champagne, Afternoon Tea or Cheese Board!!

The worst things are being interrupted by the air hostesses all the time, I personally like to be left alone to watch a film or read. Also I don’t like how you can’t see out the window with Virgin Atlantic and you can’t cosy up to your husband because of the barrier between you.

My favourite thing about flying is looking out the window, seeing which country we are flying over from a birds eye view. I love cosying up to Rich too. You just can’t do these things in Upper Class.

Artwork today is 'Lets Fly'...

What are your favourite things about flying?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T = Tea

I’m not a coffee drinker (I love the smell of coffee though) but I do like a good cup of tea! I can’t function without a cup of tea in the morning (hubby is making me one right now). I don’t like all teas, just black tea with a bit of milk and one sugar. I'm not fussy!

On our honeymoon in the Seychelles, we were driving around on a cloudy day and stumbled across a Tea Factory. They grow tea in the Seychelles so we popped in and were shown how they make tea from start to finish, from collecting the leaves to putting them into tea bags. It was really interesting (honestly) seeing the full process. It's not something you really think about. I tasted some cinnamon tea in the little cafe but it was too bitter for me. I ended up buying a box of Vanilla tea to take back to the UK for everyone at work to try. I don't think they were too keen though. The box is probably still sitting on Lisa’s desk...or in the bin?

Before we left the UK for California, we had to go to London to visit the embassy for our Visa appointment. Whilst we were there, I’d booked us in for a Christmas tea at the famous Ritz Hotel. We had to get all dressed up otherwise they don’t let you in. The tea selection was huge, I opted for black tea though and we got loads of cakes and sandwiches, all very yummy. It was very expensive but worth it and it was another thing to tick off that bucket list.

My artwork today is simply 'Cup of tea':

What one thing do you need to be able to function each day?

Monday, 22 April 2013

S = Sister

I want to take some time today to blog about my sister Charlotte who is 3.5 years older than me. Here is a cute passport picture of her:

Since my dad passed away, we have become really close.... I guess it takes something like that to make you realise you need to make the most of one another. At the funeral, she got up and said a few words, she was so strong I could never have done that. Here is an old photo of us with my dad:

I am (fairy) godmother to her daughter and we have recently found out she is pregnant again and I have a little nephew on the way! I’m very excited about this. It’s just a shame I won’t be in the UK after he is born with me being all the way across the world. I will make sure I get back to the UK for Christmas.

Charlotte has always been the bossy no nonsense one out of the two of use, that’s why she makes a good teacher. She influenced me a lot when we were younger, whatever music she listened to, I did too. I borrowed/stole her clothes/make up and she took me out to pubs and clubs with her and her friends when I was about 15 years old!.

She took me to see Take That a couple of years ago, we had a blast! Here is a photo of us together at the concert:

Since I moved away to CA, we skype about 2 times a week and e-mail all the time but its hard being so far away. She’s had a bit of a tough time lately and I am so proud of her at how strong she has been. I could never be as strong as Charlotte, I would have fell apart by now. She doesn’t know I’m writing this blog and I won’t tell her. Also, she would kill me if she knew that I’d put a photo of her online...(she hates having her photo taken!).

She is the best sister ever! I think we should all take time out from our busy hectic lives and make the most of family and friends. We won't all be around for ever.

Here is some artwork I did back in college for a family tree project:

Saturday, 20 April 2013

R = Richard

Richard is my husband (or Rich as he likes to be known). We have only been married for 8 months but we met in 2000 and have been a couple for nearly 13 years. We met at work (I was his boss!) and were friends for a little while before we realised we liked each other enough to get together. Here he is on our honeymoon in the Seychelles:

Rich proposed in Paris in June 2011. It took him so long because I always said that I never wanted to get married (based on never wanting to get divorced) but I think after so long together, we were both ready and knew the timing was right.

He is my rock, soul mate and best friend. I would never have got through my dad’s sudden death in 2010 without Rich. He has supported me through the good times and bad times.

Me and my friend Lisa joke about who is the most high maintenance (I think she wins...just!) and my family are just glad that I have found someone to put up with me...so am I.

He is a very laid back kind of person (too laid back sometimes!), whereas I am the opposite but it works and we are perfect together. He has his faults (as most men do) but I can put up with them (just about!).

I love him so much and look forward to us growing old together.

This is one of my favourite photos of us together in Egypt, at the Pyramids:

With the letter 'R' being both our initials (Rich & Row), I have a few things dotted around the house. A fossil tin and fabric letter from Anthropologie:

I am feeling lazy today (it is the weekend) so my artwork today is something I did a little while ago based on Paris ‘Love is’:

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Q = Quotes

There are so many quotes in the world said by famous (and not so famous people). My favourite film quote is:

"I feel the need—the need for speed!"
said by Maverick and Goose in Top Gun, an awesome film! I get to post a picture of Tom Cruise when he was cute now:

I also like inspirational feel good quotes and sayings. I recently bought this wall art from Pier 1 Imports:

I love the words DREAM BIG, ENJOY LIFE and I keep looking at them and thinking that is what I must do!

Here is a lovely dream related quote from Walt Disney:

My artwork for today is based on 'Dream Big, Enjoy Life':

Do you have any favourite quotes or sayings?