Musical Outings

March 12th, 2012

Two concerts over 3 evenings results in a sore throat and rather achey legs! :) However, much musical enjoyment :)

Friday night we went down to Wolverhampton to see Presidents of the United States of America (POTUSA from here otherwise my fingers will get worn out!) Their support band were the Straight Lines:

They had a good tshirt, so I wanted to like them more than I did. They were a little generic… nothing really stood out about them to make me want to spend money on their merchandise. Not to say they weren’t good and an enjoyable band. They were nice and chatty with the audience, they just didn’t grab me.

The main act of Friday night, POTUSA, are a band I’ve been aware of for a very long time. Oddly enough, Chris too :)

As you can tell from my photos, we were rather close… which turned out not to be a great idea! Apparently, POTUSA fans are rather, urm, crazy! I can cope with jumping around and enjoying the music… but it was all getting a bit vicious and dangerous. After a few manic songs of jumping with the crowd, some stomped on toes, and a fear of losing my glasses, we moved back a little which was much safer!

They’re a very silly group and quite chatty and enjoyed letting us all do the singing a few times :) A good night out other than the bruises!

Then on Sunday night we travelled up to Manchester to see Three Doors Down, supported by Seether :) I love it when you know and like the support acts, since it’s like getting two concerts for the price of one, rather than having to stand through randoms.

After the battering on Friday night we hung back a bit on Sunday. Seether were good, though clearly I need to buy their latest album as there were a number of songs everyone else seemed to know which I didn’t! Still, I thoroughly enjoyed singing and bouncing along to the ones I did (and still bouncing to the ones I didn’t!) :) It’s the second time I’ve seen them as a support act… maybe one day I’ll see them as the main act!

We managed to sneak a bit closer and more central before Three Doors Down came on. It seemed to take forever for them to make an appearance, which given it was a Sunday night and we were an hour from home, was making us a little grumbly! Again, I seem to be an album behind! So I need to go and buy more music (such a shame!) :) However, they played all the well known older ones too, so there was lots of singing along :)

He was nicely chatty with the audience and clearly happy we all knew the words! Though I really didn’t want to know that he flunked out of school and wrote the lyrics to some of my favourite songs at age 15 instead of paying attention in maths lessons! :( Fairly sure a band shouldn’t be advocating ignoring your education and aiming for stardom!

At one point he had the audience singing Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins a cappella – a little bizarre!

One slight upset is that because of the late start, they managed to get kicked off before playing Kryptonite! Nyargh! They came back for an encore and played some random new song most people didn’t know instead of the one everyone was expecting. So obviously that was the first track on once back to the car with my pretty new tshirt :)

Parchment Craft

March 8th, 2012

Some time ago, Nikki and I went to a craft show where we saw parchment craft for the first time. I was inspired by the delicate designs, by the fact it looked very similar to the embossing techniques I already love, and I wanted to try. Alas, the foolish people had no beginners set, no deal for a newbie to get the basics, no temptation to spend.

I was a little sad to leave the show without the new craft, but fear not! Nikki found a beginners kit in Hobbycraft shortly after and it was soon gifted my way :)

Then it sat. Forgotten in a corner for quite some time. Till Chris turned on Create & Craft TV and got me wanting to spend money on my card making again. Then I remembered I already had a lovely new thing to try :)

Finally last night I got out the kit, sat down for a couple of hours, and made this…

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It was fun and fairly fast and created something rather lovely :) It’s a bit wrinkly and needs sticking to some card to flatten it down some! But it’s pretty :)

Tonight I made an actual card…

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I think it’s a really lovely effect and I’m looking forward to making the rest of the patterns in the kit and then designing my own :)

What do you think? Have you ever tried parchment craft? What’s your favourite card making technique?

A Proposal

March 2nd, 2012

No, not a proposal for you, dear readers ;)

There’s one day, every four years, when tradition allows a reversal of roles. There had been hinting from Chris that he thought this a fabulous day, and I had been contemplating for a while whether I should go for it and take the pressure of “that perfect romantic moment” away from him.

Then along came Gü asking for any ladies thinking of asking the question as they wanted to make it extra special. It piqued my interest so I replied and then forgot about it for a while.

On the 21st an email appeared from them with the offer of a Gü chocolate heart filled with truffles, and a message of my choice iced on top. So I thought and I contemplated and I figured even if I didn’t go through with it, yay for chocolate! :) I chatted with Laura and arranged the message and delivery for the 28th and then I started wondering what would make that “perfect moment”.

A quick google later and I’d found a lovely looking 5 star hotel and spa just 20 minutes away! I was amazed there could be somewhere so close which would fit my requirements, so I sent them an email to check that the recent bad review on Trip Advisor wasn’t normal. Lucy assured me it was just a grumpy man who’d tried to cancel his 12 month gym membership and not taken kindly to having to pay for the full 12 months… since I wasn’t intending to join the gym this was fine by me ;) Lucy and Laura were the only people who knew of my plan beforehand and were both very encouraging :) Lucy arranged for a complimentary bottle of wine to help calm my nerves for the big question :)

Then, the challenge of a gift. We have an attachment to toucans, those of you who know me well have probably seen the toucan on my bracelet, so I decided he should have a toucan to match. I googled around some more, looking for a toucan (key)ring seemed appropriate. I finally found something I thought might work, and it turned out despite being on eBay, it was actually in a shop just down the road! I let fate guide me and headed over there that afternoon to buy it :)

Planning all sorted, I just had to wait for the day, and then manage to drag Chris away from his desk ;)

After a little tour of the facilities and our welcome juice, we went for a walk around the grounds. The sun had come out and the skies had cleared. It was warm enough to walk just in our tshirts through their little wooded area :)

After this point, there aren’t many photos because we discovered there was no signal on our phones! Absolutely no service whatsoever across the whole place! Something of a surprise, but actually very nice to escape from work completely for 24 hours :) So we mostly didn’t take our phones with us and hence no camera!

We spent the afternoon making use of the spa facilities – sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and a swimming pool :) Much relaxation and warmth :) Then back to our room for a little while before dinner. We weren’t sure what to expect of the 5 star dinner, whilst the menu had sounded fine I had been wary that it might be tiny gourmet foods, so had packed lots of snacks. I needn’t have worried, there was lots of food and we were stuffed afterwards! I had the silliest crispy shredded duck pancake ever – it was in fact a Staffordshire oatcake rather than a pancake :D Now I want to make my own that way too :) Whilst Chris started with some garlic mushroom bruschetta which was most tasty. For mains I had some pork with the yummiest crackling *ever* and Chris had a tasty steak :) His steak came with triple cooked chips – why 3 times? We don’t know… but they tasted good :)

We shared a bottle of rather tasty wine over dinner too :) By this point it was almost all gone and we were rather full. How could we possibly resist dessert though, after the first 2 courses had been so good?! ;) Chris had a warm chocolate and almond tart served with custard and chocolate ice cream. I had a hot chocolate cake with mint choc chip ice cream :) Both were must yummy :D

We headed back to the room, now rather inebriated, and I decided I had better actually ask the question before I ran out of day! I had been considering doing it over dinner, but the restaurant was a little too busy, and we’re not the kind of people to want a public spectacle! So I ask :) Presenting him with the (key)ring and chocolates, and obviously he says yes :D (Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post, now would I?!) :)

The next morning there was more sunshine, a little more spa usage, and a yummy chocolate back massage :) Followed by a hunt for a ring! We tried Longton (as we were driving through) and then Hanley, and when that failed headed back to cuddle the kitties for a while before heading up to the Trafford Centre. We walked round all the jewellers, and finally narrowed it down to three rings. We took photos and then had some dinner (mmmm, barburrito!) whilst we contemplated. Then we went and bought a ring :)

This is just a temporary ring whilst we choose a diamond ring, but it didn’t feel right that I was engaged and didn’t have a ring :) It’s white gold with tanzanite and is very pretty :) Conveniently, my ring finger on my right hand is the same size, so it will still get lots of wearing once we finally choose a “proper” ring ;)

Now to do that wedding planning thing! :D

Destashing

February 8th, 2012

I do a lot of crafting, particularly with yarn. Over the years I have built up rather a large stash of lovely smooshy yarn :) Perhaps too large a stash! So this year I intend to work at reducing the pile. Each project I complete is being marked on Ravelry with the total weight so I can keep track.

To celebrate my first kilogram I thought I would share my projects on here too :)

First up was Sasha’s bed:
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This was an awesome stash busting project using a whopping 850g in only a few hours :)

Next came a pattern test for a friend:
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This was a slow knit as I’ve not done double knitting before and I suck at following charts! It used up 85g.

A very quick donut mug cozy:
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A random creation for Chris after he saw mug cozies on Ravelry but wanted something more unique. I particularly like that the side he drinks from says “nut” :) Only 10g though!

Then another pattern test of a cute bear:
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Chris named him “Squidgey Yay Bear” which has stuck :) Including his stuffing, he weighs 35g.

Next up was some random yarn from Abakahn, bought in a sale and lacking a ball band. I thought the colours were lovely and it was soft enough to want near my skin, so I used up every last yard making these:
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That was 120g of yarn used in some improvised gloves and hat :)

A total of 1.1kg so far and still going strong :)

Scramble With Friends

January 17th, 2012

Oh how excited I get when a new “With Friends” game from Zynga appears on the App Store. The joy of another word game to lose my time to! :) Despite the disappointment Hanging With Friends turned out to be (it’s just a weird game concept… and seriously, how is dropping your opponent in molten lava ‘family friendly’?!) I was eager to try it out :)

It looks much as you would expect it to look. The same old styling, but now in green! Oh, except there’s that odd Tokens bar at the top… which I’ll rant about shortly ;) Yes, we still get stuck with the Updating Games spinner in the middle of the screen for random lengths of time, and to me, it feels like there’s an awful lot of buttons on that opening screen. But at least it didn’t try to make me create a character like HWF did ;)

I found it slightly amusing that the Help screen doesn’t actually contain any help relating to the game, and it feels glitchy and unpleasant and not like an iPhone table view should!

It’s good that it’s been through QA and that there’s space for long names on the screen… oh wait, there isn’t! My name isn’t even all that long!

From the chat screen there are two back arrows… styled slightly differently… which go to different places! :(

And our favourite “Copy/Paste” error – “Your move”? Really? Fairly sure this game is played in turns, not moves!

Oh, I almost forgot the tokens… “what are they for?” you might ask, as we did too! There’s no explanation whatsoever. There’s an animation suggesting you use one each time you make a move take a turn, and a count down to you getting a new one. There’s also the option to buy more tokens… though we don’t know why we want them! Basically, Zynga don’t seem to think showing us adverts is making them enough money, nor is us buying the full version as that still has tokens as IAPs! Apparently, they feel a need to try and charge us to play the game so that they can show us more adverts. I’m completely confused by this!

Ah yes, and the other reason for tokens? To give you cheats in the game! One of the things many people said to us at various conferences was that players who spend more money shouldn’t get to cheat! Give them pretty things, or different ways to play, but don’t let them cheat!

Basically, totally unimpressed with the lack of QA testing which has gone into this game as within minutes Chris and I were both complaining about weird stuff happening, and obvious bugs! Also unimpressed with Zynga feeling a need to shoehorn extra IAPs into a game which don’t need to be there. I’ve not yet run out of tokens (though I’m not playing all that many games simultaneously) and I refuse to ever buy in game currency!

That said, I love Scramble games! Always have and I suspect I always will :) Feel free to challenge me to a game, I’m StarlitSkies (on all the Zynga with Friends games) and I’ll play you just as soon as I have enough tokens… ;)

Meet Sasha…

January 11th, 2012

Last Monday I took my friend Cleo to collect a kitten. Little did I know at the time that there were actually 3 little kittens looking for a new home as their owner is shortly to move to Australia. I should not be allowed little tiny bundles of fluff who need a new home… the following day I returned to collect one of my own ;)

She was born Nov 5th 2011, so she’s just over 2 months old now :) I’m sure you don’t need telling how adorable a kitten this age is… what with the extreme tininess… the chasing of everything… the vast amount of sleep required curled up on your lap… so cute! :D She also has these beautiful stripes which are a little hard to see without daylight, but this photo does a reasonable job…

Combine her cuteness with me finally finishing up two projects on Friday, and I couldn’t resist finding a project just for her :) So, most of Saturday was spent on a fabulous destashing project to make her a bright, fluffy bed. Most impressively, she seems to like it and keeps sleeping in it without me having to put her there ;)

There’s more photos over here and I’ll keep adding to that :)

A New Year – A New Start?

January 5th, 2012

It would seem I’m not very good at keeping a blog. I have a couple of half-written posts… a review of a local restaurant and a techy post about some issues I had with a translucent status bar. It seems unlikely I’ll ever finish them, but I can’t quite bring myself to delete them.

With the beginning of 2012 comes a hope that I could start blogging again and maybe even keep up with it. To start, a brief round up of what happened last year other than the trip to Vegas which is apparently all I wrote about ;)

Kittens

Amy and Pixel joined the family. Two gorgeous kittens who were a complete surprise to the owner of their parents when she returned from a New Years Eve party! They’re now a year old and still gorgeous and cuddly :)

Games

We’ve released a whole lot of games! In chronological order…


Moving In

I have basically moved in with Chris now. There’s still a lot of stuff in my house, which I still own, but hopefully we can get that all moved soon and start the process of trying to sell it. One step closer to finding a new house together, though that will be challenging thanks to our many and varied requirements :)

Florida

Chris and I went to Florida for a holiday :) We did a lot of theme parks, which was tiring! We saw a Bucs game at the stadium (I now not only understand the rules, but can occasionally be found shouting at the TV screen to a game!) We went parasailing :)

More photos on Facebook

Paragliding

After the fun of parasailing, Chris booked us a one day paragliding taster course :) It was awesome! Extremely exhausting, but awesome :) We were flying!! :D

Chris Paragliding
Me Paragliding

2012

That probably covers all of the highlights of 2011, other than the Vegas trip which there’s lots of entries about already :) This year has already had some excitement… Meet Sasha…

Apparently, I can’t resist homeless kittens, particularly gorgeous ones! :) She’s only 8 weeks old and we’ve only had brief introductions between the cats so far. Fingers crossed that they all get along so we can keep her :D

Vegas – Day 17 – Pinball Hall of Fame

July 4th, 2011

Thanks to having a late flight, we actually had a bonus day :) After some stress because the online checkin wouldn’t let me check in, and then the silly man on the phone last night didn’t get us seats together even though we could see they were free… we were eventually all packed and bags placed in storage at the hotel so we could enjoy our last day.

We headed over to Hash House a Go Go for some brunch – as the first time, there was loads of food, and yummy scone with strawberry jam :) The waitress said “Awww, you’re so cute!” when she handed us the bill because we were holding hands… that might have increased her tip slightly ;)

Hash House a Go Go brunch

After a quick trip to Gold Coast to enter their winning Wednesdays, we headed to the Pinball Hall of Fame. It’s a plain building, a simple sign confirming you’re in the right place. Inside there are rows and rows of pinball machines :D Old ones, newer ones, all sorts to entertain :) We wandered a little to see what would tempt us and then lost the whole afternoon! Popeye, Adam’s Family, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman, Austin Powers and Shrek machines were all played :) Some were more fun than others… though mostly fun was had when crazy multiballs were activated ;) The Pirates machine had a ship you could sink!

Pinball machines

Pinball machines

Then it was time to leave Worcle in a cache here so he can find his own way home. Our hope is that he will have a bit of a travel around and eventually get back to us… fingers crossed! It was hard leaving him behind as I’m used to him being in my bag for silly photos!

Leaving Worcle Behind

Finally we headed to the airport and said goodbye to the Vegas weather as we checked in and went through security. There’s no lounge for Business Class here, so we had a little bar all to ourselves. Not overly comfy, but snacks and drinks to keep us quiet whilst we caught up on laptop things :)

The flight was long. It seemed to take them ages to serve us dinner (we managed a whole episode of Scrubs between main course and dessert!) but finally they turned off all the lights. Despite the space and (almost) flat bed, I struggled to really sleep. Except, apparently, when breakfast came, which I missed. I was then grumpy as I was very hungry! :(

We got to London to be told that we had missed our connection, despite no one ever mentioning we were running late :( So we had to get booked onto the next flight to Manchester, which at least gave us time to hunt down a seat in the very busy BA lounge and have some food! Yay for food :)

We finally got back to Manchester where my Mother collected us and, after managing to squish everything into her little car, we returned home to be greeted by our adorable kittens :D They make being home rather better ;) Plus, we seem to have brought the sunshine with us, which is good :)

Vegas – Day 16 – Red Rock Canyon

June 30th, 2011

Today we actually managed to get up early and have a breakfast buffet! :) This was something Chris had been looking forward to, but our mornings seemed to all vanish to either swimming pools or sleep and we kept missing out. So regardless of both getting to bed late, we managed to drag ourselves downstairs for a big tasty start to the day :)

Breakfast Buffet Desserts

Since my feet/legs/ankles/knees were still all so very sore we opted to view Red Rock Canyon by means of the scenic drive :) We stopped at almost every parking place to take photos (and a few other places too!) and did a little geocaching as well :) There were many photos taken, so here’s just a few…

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

There was also much messing around with Worcle whilst waiting for Chris to take photos ;)

Worcle at Red Rock Canyon

Worcle goes for a drive

Floating Worcle

Next up was a bit of gambling. We stopped by Palms for their swipe and win where I won a Palms bottle opener and Chris got a drink :) Then we headed over to Bellagio to play some Spin Poker, which was fun :D Admittedly, it was probably fun because we were actually winning (for the first time in a while!) but the machine is rather fun :) Chris wants me to tell you all that he got a royal flush ;)

Then we went to Caesars to collect a free medallion and then stopped by Serendipity 3 for some dinner. Chris flashed his (expired) diamond card and not only got us seated very quickly but got us a little VIP sign for our table, though it didn’t seem to do anything but make us feel like everyone was looking at us! The food was good, but served on silly plates! :)

Odd shaped dinner plates

Are we really VIP?

Then we had to go back to the hotel to get packed :( Chris did bring me a nice strawberry daiquiri to make the packing more fun :D Plus we celebrated completing the packing with yummy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream :)

Vegas – Day 15 – Blue Man Group

June 30th, 2011

Today was a very slow start because I’m feeling rather broken. My feet are too sore for me to stand for long, and my legs and knees are hurting too. A combination of excessive walking and the extreme heat vs. the icy cold air conditioning is not doing me much good! :( Still, Chris went and fetched a hotdog and Cinnabon for brunch which helped encourage me out of bed ;)

We went shopping and bought new shoes, random gifts, and purple dice. This seemed to take most of the day! Not quite sure how! :)

Worcle likes the purple dice but isn't sure why he's been marked as crazy!

Worcle tries on shoes

We collected our tickets for Blue Man Group and then went to In-n-Out Burger for a quick dinner before heading back to Harrah’s to put all our shopping in the room and get changed before walking over to the Venetian for the show.

The show was awesome :D It was funny, entertaining, and musical :) There were drums, pipes, twinkies, paint, paper streamers, a science lesson, and more :) It was most enjoyable :) When it came time to finish I hadn’t realised time had passed, I was so enjoying it! They could have continued for hours and I would have happily sat and watched :) I have a cool tshirt and Chris has some paint covered drum sticks :)

I stopped for a photo on the walk back through the Venetian because they have a canal… and it’s not the ground floor!

Canal inside Venetian

Wow, shortest entry yet by far! Must do more and take more photos tomorrow! :)