My place to share lots of photographs of my random crafty, makery, bakery and cookery projects, as well as random thoughts that might strike me and are too long for Twitter...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

20 Day Princess Challenge

I found this on petite tiaras tumblr and, whilst I will forget if I try and do it over 20 days, I figure I will remember if I give it 20 minutes. :)
20 Day Princess Challenge:

day 1: the princess you adore most
I have to be honest, I have many favourite princesses. I love ALL the princesses. I think Ariel, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel are my main three favourites. At least for today. And Tiana, I like Tiana too.

day 2: the princess you like least
Well in July 2013 (when she is apparently due to become an Official Princess, that crown will go to Merida. I just don't like her. Of the current ten, Mulan is definitely my least favourite.

day 3: the princess you relate to most
Really? That's tricky. I've never been locked in a tower or lived underwater. I HAVE had a horse and carriage (but it wasn't a pumpkin), and I did once wake up and say "Kisses always wake up the princess" when my Dad kissed me goodbye before work, so I guess Cinderella and Aurora. And I love books, so Belle too.

day 4: the side kick you wish you had
Pascal. Or Rajah. Or Flounder.

day 5: the best friend you wish you could hang out with
As in, best friend of a princess? Probably Rajah, or Meeko. If they have to be human . . . I can't think of many princesses with human best friends. If they have to be human, then Charlotte La Bouff.

day 6: the prince you wish loved you
Eric. To me, as a little girl, he had his own castle, ship, and dog, and what more can you ask for in a prince? To me as an adult that still sounds pretty damn good. Plus he is very handsome. Eric every time.

day 7: the parents you wish raised you
Now, this is tricky. 1) because I would never want any parents other than my own, I can't imagine even thinking about it, and 2) it says "parents". Think about it. Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas,  no mother, Tiana has no father, Aurora, Fa Mulan and Rapunzel have both parents, and only Mulan actually knows that before adulthood. So, I wouldn't actually want ANY Disney princess' parents, thanks.
day 8: the castle you wish you lived in
Cindrella castle. Or, obviously, Prince Eric's.

day 9: the town you wish you lived in
Hmmm...Maybe Belle's little provincial town. Or Corona.

day 10: the dress you wish you owned
Cinderella's ballgown. Or Belle's.
day 11: the voice you wish you had
I don't know, I kind of like my own voice. Not Snow White, I think her voice would probably get a little annoying after a while. Cinderella maybe? Or Pocahontas, I like her voice too. But do we mean speaking voice, or singing voice, because (ruining the magic) we all know sometimes they are totally different . . .

day 12: two princesses you think are best friends
Aurora and Snow White. Both love cute little cottages in the woods, and have a host of woodland friends. They were probably introduced by a passing deer, or something.

day 13: two princesses you think detest each other
I don't imagine two specific princesses getting on, I see it more as the old school vs the new school of Princesses, the originals (Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Ariel), and the newcomers (Pocahontas, Jasmine, Tiana, Mulan, Rapunzel). The classier, more chic princesses, vs the more girl power/tomboy princesses.

day 14: two side kicks who could make a great duo
Meeko and Mushu, maybe? They both seem cheeky.

day 15: two princes who would be best buds
Well Eric and Flynn Ryder are practically twins, so I guess maybe they would be buddies? Prince Adam, Prince Stefan, Prince Phillip and Prince Charming probably go golfing together.

day 16: the scene that always makes you cry
"Evangeline" from "Princess and the Frog" (and when Ray joins Evangeline), and the lanterns scene in "Rapunzel".

day 17: the scene that always makes you cheer
Erm, Gaston being thrown from the tower...I can't really think of any others!

day 18: the scene that always makes you cringe
None really that I can think of.

day 19: the story you wish was your life
None really! The Little Mermaid, maybe, for the ending? I don't know.
day 20: the movie you love the most
The Little Mermaid.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Project: Tree Decoration Gift Tags

Now you know I love my pottery painting, and my favourite place to go is Fired Arts on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield.

In January I bought some wrapping paper (for this year, because I'm cheap like that ;) that was covered in unusual tree decorations. So of course I knew exactly what I wanted my gift tags to be!


The ribbons go through the holes, and when the bows are undone there is enough ribbon to tie in a loop to hang on the tree. They are just attached to the presents with balls of sticky tape.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Worst. Christmas. Ever.

Lately it has become somewhat of an unfortunate tradition for me to work my ass off right up until Christmas Eve in full health, only to succomb to a cough, cold or full-blown flu during Christmas Day, thus having to leave the family celebration early. Last year I did pretty well and made it through Christmas Day, only to get a cold on Boxing Day.

My annual mantra to sick people of "STAY AWAY FROM ME!!" is not purely me being selfish. My Mum has Lupus (which basically means a buggered immune system, which basically means stay the hell away from sick people. For a more accurate description, see here), so if I'm ill, I can't do the big family Christmas. Christmas to me IS the big family Christmas, with everyone all together. So far, we've managed to wing it over the years, no-one else has gotten ill, and I've minimised the time I've spent in bed (and always, dammit, been fit and well for work on Dec. 27th).

This year, however, I would have given anything for a nice simple cough or cold. Turns out I had food poisoning (we presume, given that it seems to be mainly gone 24hrs later, and Norovirus is supposed to last for 48hrs-ish). HOWEVER when food poisoning could be mistaken for Norovirus (which is doing the rounds again here), that means quarantine, which means no family Christmas for me. Which means spending Christmas Day on our sofa in a blanket/in the bathroom, crying and feeling like crap. I officially ruined Christmas. Well, not me precisely, I can't help being ill...But Christmas was ruined none the less.

Anyone who says Christmas isn't 110% about family is WRONG. Having spent my first Christmas in 28 years without my family, I can tell you that now for a fact. I spent Christmas Day asleep on the sofa without my family. Bad times. John didn't get his Chirstmas dinner (or pigs in blankets), I didn't get anything but stomach cramps, a headache, and dehydrated, given that my stomach had developed a distint aversion to everything, even plain water. We still had presents, but that doesn't matter without family.

So that was my family Christmas ruined. Today, I am (right now, in fact) missing his family's Christmas dinner, because the thought of major food this morning turned my stomach (does anyone else get that food-phobia after a bout of throwing up? I always have).

I feel bad saying "Worst Christmas Ever" given that my Grandma died on Dec. 23rd when I was a teenager...But at least that Christmas we were still together, as a family, even if we were sad and didn't "celebrate" Christmas, we still got to spend the day together. That's all that matters about Christmas.

I just want to see my family! :'( Sad, sad times.

It makes me sad that 30 people viewed my blog yesterday too...Where were those people's families? Why did they have time to spend online on Christmas day? Maybe they were just non-Christmas-celebrating faiths. I hope so.

Hope everyone else had an AWESOME Christmas, doing whatever makes your Christmases awesome! :)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Like If You Hate Fake "Like This" Pages...

OK, that title is just me being facetious. But seriously, I cannot be the only one who is sick of their Facebook feed being filled with "1 Like = 1 RIP", "Like if you think this sick kid deserves a BMX", "Like = You Care, Keep Scrolling = You're a total b@st@rd", "Ignore this if you hate puppies", "This kid asked Santa for his Dad to come home from Iraq, like if you want to see them reunited", "Like if you hate cancer", etc, etc, etc.

I'm going to just come right out and say it. If you are on my friends list, I am automatically going to assume that you hate cancer. In fact, if you are human, I'm going to assume that you hate cancer. That's not fair, actually, I'm going to assume that even the dogs and cat on my FB friends list would hate cancer if they had any concept of what it is. You don't need to like a photograph. I'm going to assume that you are basically a moral, upstanding human being (despite some trying desperately to convince me otherwise). I presume you want the kid to get his Dad home from Iraq, that you love puppies (or at least don't hate them), think all the sick kids should have bicycles, wish everyone who deserves it to rest in peace, and respect war veterans and old people in general.

Liking a picture will not cure cancer. It will not make the girl get naked, or the little boy fall down the well, or the snake eat the giraffe, or the hysterical/scary/amazing thing happen. What it will do is raise the likes on the photograph/page, which will probably then be sold on by the unscrupulous person/group who set it up to trick people into clicking on heart-rending/intriguing/gross links to make them more money.

Basically, the more people who like/share a picture (or profile) on Facebook, the more exposure the page/profile the picture belongs to gets, and the more valuable that page/profile becomes. The login for the page/profile is then sold to a company for a massive profit (bearing in mind all Facebook pages are free to create, pretty much a 100% profit), the company change the details of the profile or page to their own, and suddenly the business has a page with 50,000 likes . . . Instant popularity!

A page's "Edge Rank" is the score it is given which controls how the page interacts with other pages/profiles. The higher your ER the more your page is shown on newsfeeds, etc. Facebook decides which ERs are relevant to each person (hence the reason some days your feed is just chock-full of rubbish).

So be careful what you click on. If necessary, Google the name of that sick little kid or brave soldier. If it's a real story, chances are it has a real page that won't be raising money for con-artists.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Dolphins . . . Smarter Than Toddlers . . .

. . . And clearly smarter than some parents.

Now, take Seaworld out of the equation for a minute. Whatever your opinion of captive animals and Seaworld in particular, like it or not they exist, and they have animals.

They also have many MANY warning signs. Don't go too near the animals. Don't wear dangly/sharp jewellery, try and pet the animals, or hold up/wave around the feed containers at the edge/over the edge of the animal pens. They have keepers/handlers/staff reminding people of these rules.

So if I were the parent of Jillian Thomas, the little girl who was bitten by a dolphin at Seaworld Orlando, the first thing I would do, before going to the media complaining that my kid got bitten by a dolphin at Seaworld, would be to take a look at the video of the incident that I am using to prove that my kid got bitten. Because the video (below) clearly shows that the parent in question is busy with the video camera, and their daughter waves the white feeding tray in front of the dolphin. Remember those rules again? DON'T HOLD UP/WAVE AROUND THE FEED CONTAINERS. There is a wall. You can see it in the video. The wall slopes away from the pool. So, from a dophin's-eye view, you can't see the tray if it is where it should be, on the wall.
 "I am such an overprotective parent that if I knew my child might get bitten, I would not have even let my daughter do this."
 - Amy Thomas, Jillian's Mother.
Seriously? Are you genuinely serious with that statement?! You give your kid a tray of a non-domesticated animal's favourite food, stand them in front of aforementioned non-domesticated animal, walk away from your child to get a good view with your video camera, and it never crossed your mind that something might go wrong and the child might get bitten?!
"It was strange how they downplayed the whole thing. At the time, we thought we were at fault but these are children. We just want other parents to know the dangers."
 - Jamie Thomas, Jillian's Father. 
First off, go back to "the time". You were right. You ARE at fault. The keepers are responsible for the safety and well-being of the dolphins. Your wild animals are your own responsibility. Let's consider The Dangers of Seaworld.

Parents, The Dangers of Seaworld are:

 1) Not obeying the rules.
 2) Not realising that, however well behaved your kids are at home, when they are confronted with an amazingly exciting experience, they might well forget the rules they have read/been told, and need reminding.
 3) You are a parent first, and a cameraman/woman second. Adjust your behaviour accordingly.
 4) You cannot trust ANY animal (nope, not even Fluffy or Fido) 100% not to bite your child. Sad but true.

Apparently the family won't be taking legal action, but they would like Seaworld to either raise the age limit for dolphin feeding or remind parents that dolphins do bite.

I'm sorry, why should other kids suffer because you didn't keep a close enough eye on your own?! When we were there, tiny kids were being held up to see over the wall to feed the dolphins. They were fine. No-one got bitten. Parents were supervising. As for reminding people that dolphins can bite . . . Do you also want a sign saying the water in the tank is wet? That you should continue breathing in and out whilst feeding the dolphins? Because if we state all the obvious points that can be connected to dolphin feeding, the sign will be bigger than the freaking park.

Maybe we should add an IQ test that you have to pass before you are allowed near the dolphins, and if the dolphins have a higher score than you, you're not allowed a tray of fish?!

I've done the Behind the Scenes Dolphin Experience at Seaworld. There were a few VERY small children in our group, with parents, and they were impeccably behaved, despite being very excited. They participated safely in every aspect of the experience, even the bits when the dolphins hop (do dolphins hop?! Anyway) up onto the wall of the enclosure for petting and photographs. No-one got bitten.

I'm not perfect, I've been to parks, escaped my parents, and broken the rules before. I remember visiting an animal park with my family and getting bitten by a wallaby. There were safety signs, but the wallaby looked cute and fuzzy so I took my chance and petted it, and it nipped my hand. But because that was many years ago, when people were responsible for their own actions instead of blaming anyone and everyone else, my parents didn't go to the press and demand the park change the rules. They made sure I was OK, then they told me off for being stupid enough to pet a wallaby, then they apologised to the keepers because I broke the rules, and then we went about our day.

Jillian . . . I hope your bites heal quickly (think of the kick-ass story you have to go with your scars! Coolest. Story. In. Your. Class. EVER.) and that dolphins are still your favourite animals, because they are AWESOME. Next time, get your parents to cough up for the Behind The Scenes experience instead. All the fish is in a bucket held by a keeper, so it's super-safe, you are actually allowed to pet the dolphins, and the keepers teach you dolphin sign language too.

Mr Thomas' video is below . . .

Project: Mulled Wine

Now, I'll be honest. I'm not a big drinker of anything alcoholic, let alone mulled wine. Given my natural propensity to spill things, I don't drink red wine EVER. But, I got a two-can-dine meal deal from M&S, so I took the bottle of wine and bought a little packet of their mulling pot pourri (I don't care, that's what it looks like).

I didn't take a photo of the sachet, basically it does look exactly like Pot Pourri (you can see the contents of it in the pan in one of the photographs). I read a number of methods online . . . and then basically made my own up! It didn't quite work, but what the hell.

This was the wine I went for:

I started off with 100g of sugar, and the sachet contents in the pan. I added just enough water so that everything was just wet, and heated it on the stove until the sugar melted into the water and went syrupy. I carried on stirring for a few more minutes, and then poured in the wine. The instructions I had said to heat for 20mins. Well, after 20mins it still tasted WAY too alcoholy (I don't like wine, and having tried it before I mulled it, it still tasted way too much like that!) so all in all it cooked for about 45mins. During that time I eyeballed a bit more sugar in, so there was probably about 150g in altogether.

Surprisingly, once it had cooled and I put it back into the bottle (storage issues!), it was far too strong and syrupy to drink, almost like drinking Ribena without water. However, this gave me a genius idea, and without further ado I bring you . . .

The Mulled Wine Spritzer!

Trust me, it is delicious, (probably) alcohol-free and fantabulously Christmassy.

I will be freezing the rest of the mulled wine in ice cube trays so that I can thaw a few cubes whenever I fancy a spritzer, and just add lemonade!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Project: Advent Calendar

I decided this year to make my husband another special advent calendar. Partially because I couldn't find half of the DVDs that I put in last year's (did I make a post about that? I can't remember. If not, I will do), but also because he had another week of night shifts last week (I swear that happened last year too), so I had a whole week of evenings to work on it.

This is 2012's effort:

The adorable "stockings" are socks were from Primark's Christmas baby range, in 3-packs:

I marked the ribbon (just cheapy stuff from Hobbycraft) every 3.5" with a Sharpie, and then hand-sewed on the socks.

And then into each sock, I popped a MAGICAL ELF!!!

It had to be done, they are one of The Five Signs of Christmas. ;)

Of course, he had to ruin my surprise (Christmas donuts for breakfast in bed, followed by the big Advent Calendar Reveal) by staying up later than he said he would and throwing my plans out for the day, so that was ruined . . . Grrrrrrr!!

Happy Christmas Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-...

. . .Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve!

Everyone knows that advent calendars with chocolate are the best, but I hope you enjoy

this advent calendar

which I actually made for work, but which is (hopefully!) a nice Christmas treat for everyone!

Pass it on, share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter or wherever (mail them a letter, I dare you!), no-one profits from it or anything like that (least of all me... *sigh* ), spread the Christmas cheer!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Listography: 10 Reasons I Am Thankful For America

Happy Thanksgiving, USAians!!

I thought I would take this opportunity to list the 10 reasons, that I can think of right now, in no particular order of preference (apart from #1 is OBVIOUSLY my #1 reason, if you know me. At. All.) that I am thankful for America.

1). Disney. Disney films, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney, Disney Land, Disney Store. . . DISNEY.

2). Bon Jovi.

3). Peanut Butter M&Ms. Not the regular ones, because obviously Smarties are far superior, chocolate-wise. Not the peanut ones. But definitely the peanut butter ones.

4). Lucky Charms. Or perhaps, the fact that America doesn't seem to give two hoots about the colourings/additives/sugar content of food, and thus are still allowed to sell Lucky Charms. For the foreigners. . . In the UK they used to sell Lucky Charms, until they discovered there was more sugar than cereal, and then they couldn't sell them with cereals because of the high sugar content and cereal health guidelines, and because they couldn't figure anywhere else to sell them, they just stopped selling them altogether. Now you can buy them from "American Candy" specialist shops, for about £8/small box.

5). Elvis Presley.

6). Toby Keith.

7). People who have to be moved on low-loaders, and make me feel thin. Now, I'm not making light of morbid obesity (OK, maybe I did then *chortle*), nor am I presuming that we don't have our fair share of similarly sized people over here. But whenever I'm having a fat day, a quick scan of "People Of Walmart" never fails to make me feel waif-like and glamorous.

8). Cowboy hats. Cowboy hats are my go-to sun hat of choice. Not many people can pull them off. I'm not sure I can, but being very short, conventional wide-brimmed sun hats make me look like the oriental mushrooms in "Fantasia", so I figured quirky cowboy hats were a better option.

9). WWE.

10). Awesome friends. I have made some great friends over the years who hail from the States.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! :D

Friday, 16 November 2012

Is Social Networking REALLY That Social?

The irony of this post is that I got the idea from a good friend's status on Facebook that "...social networking is anything but." So, clearly social media does have it's uses! ;)

Maybe it should be is social media really that great . . ?
1). Who are you ignoring whilst you are being social online? Now that everyone has 24/7/365 access to social networking on their mobile phones, how many people are around you when you are logging on to see what other people are up to? For me the golden rule of phone usage is:

If it would be rude/impractical to open a newspaper in front of your face and start reading, it is rude to use your phone.

Image Copyright PrideWest.co.uk
Would you do this mid-conversation? Whilst walking? In the car?
Basically every time you get your phone out (without it ringing/drawing attention to itself, obviously) when you are with someone else you are saying "You are not interesting enough for me to waste time on. I am going to see what the more interesting people are doing." That's not only rude and disrespectful, it's very anti-social. And people are doing it ALL. THE. TIME.
Interestingly enough, it is now enough of an issue that there are now basic guidelines* for what defines "social media addiction":
You update your status while out with “real people.” This goes back to the first point about being disrespectful and anti-social. Unless you are ALL tagging each other as being somewhere, then at least wait until your time together is over to update.
Losing track of time online. Finding yourself on the Internet longer than you intended. A few minutes turn in to a few hours. Getting irritated or cranky if your online time is interrupted.
Having trouble completing tasks at work or home. Do you find dirty dishes piling up and little food in the house for dinner because you’ve been busy online?
Isolation from family and friends. Is your social life suffering because of all the time you spend online? Are you neglecting your family and friends? Do you feel like no one in your “real” life — even your spouse — understands you like your online friends?
Feeling guilty or defensive about your Internet use. Are you sick of your spouse nagging you to get off the computer and spend time together? Do you hide your Internet use or lie to your boss and family about the amount of time you spend on the computer and what you do while you're online? Feeling a sense of euphoria while involved in Internet activities. Do you use the Internet as an outlet when stressed, sad, or for sexual gratification or excitement? Have you tried to limit your Internet time but failed?
We're all guilty of one or two of those from time to time. More than that and maybe it's time to step back for a while!
2). You are open to the whole world. Now, initially that sounds GREAT! I can talk to the whole world!! Now think about how many people in your day-to-day life drive you crazy. How many you avoid. How many people you come across that you actually want to talk to. I think that is another problem. The whole world of freaks and weirdos is now in your pocket. That includes the people you actually want to socialise with which is lovely, but also those that, in real life, you wouldn't poke with a stick if they washed up on the beach. You are open to the crazy people, the needy people, the whiny people, the nasty people, the psycho-stalker people. And because it is so easy to lie online, you might not find out until it is too late.
3). Some people are just too social. Some of these obviously fall into the wouldn't-poke-with-a-stick catagory. First hand examples have to be:
 - "Found this in his nappy...Is it meant to be that colour?" (accompanied by a photograph, in a public-access album, on Facebook).
- I'm bored...here are many crappy phone pictures of my face (awaits confidence-boosting comments from friends. "Nice Bathroom!" doesn't count).
- Here are a million fuzzy phone-quality photographs I took of drunk people, many of whom I don't know. I will now share them repeatedly for a fortnight, just to make sure EVERYONE gets the chance to see them and knows what a party animal I am, despite the fact that I clearly spent the entire night with my phone in my hand.
- "I'm soooooooooooooooooooo wasted right now! WASTED!!" Repeated EVERY. DAMN. THURSDAY/FRIDAY/SATURDAY. NIGHT. Followed (of course) the next morning by "I'm NEVER doing that again! Someone tell me what happened!! WASTED!!!"
- "My [boyfriend/girlfriend] is such a b*st*rd! I hate them! What a w*nker!! Waste of space! Never wasting time on them again after this!" Closely followed by "...is snuggled up with [boyfriend/girlfriend], love of my life, all you haters can go to hell, we'll be together 4eva..." Repeat on a weekly basis.
Unfortunately these are also usually the people who, if you attempt to stop socialising, will send you a message, wanting to know WHY you unfriended/unfollowed them, or try to re-friend you, assuming it was a glitch in the system, and not the fact that they are completely irritating that caused the severing of your connection. I'm not even going to start on the people with accounts for their pets (one day, I hope all the mis-represented cats and dogs get up a law suit and sue their owners for misrepresentation. If pets had opposible thumbs, they would find something WAY better to do than play Farmville) or fantasy character accounts, because I will upset people. Personally, I think one account per real person/business/band, whatever is enough. Every facet of your life/personality does not need a Facebook/Twitter account. Then again, if people don't want to see it, they won't friend/follow you, so you keep farming/tweeting, Mr Tibbles...
4). Social networking may well be single-handedly responsible for the new rise of The Crazy Cat Lady/Man. Where else but social networks can you find an abundance of single people with cats, and also an abundance of pictures of cats?
Now I don't know if this phenomenon affects anyone else, but I find myself now noticing that the same CCLs and CCM who I am a mutual friend of will repeatedly join the same cat lovers groups and like the same cat pictures on Facebook. I'll be honest, when I see them liking the same five pictures in one evening, I have to repress the urge to do a little bit of Crazy Cat Matchmaking.
5). If social networking has brought anything important to our attention, it is the fact that there are a hell of a lot of people out there who are not getting the medical/psychological help that they desperately need, and many are turning to social media instead of getting that help. Using Dr Google before making a GP appointment is one thing. Relying on people you might never have met to care enough to save your life when they have no real-life information about you is another.
Some people are just attention-seeking. If you have a Facebook account and have never once seen the following altercation, you are either a liar, or have an excellent grasp of the "Hide Posts" function:
Status Poster: ":("
Replier 1: "What's up hun?"
Replier 2: "omg!!!! what's wrong?!!!?!?"
Replier 4: "Sup babes?"
SP: "Just :("
Replier 2: " **hugs** Wanna talk about it?"
SP: "Can't talk about it on here."
Replier 3: "DM me babes."
Replier 5: Oh no, not [ex-boyfriend/mother/ex-bff] again! What's wrong luv?"
SP: "No I can't talk about it on here, I'm just sooooooooooooo p*ssed off right now...."
Replier 6: "Who's upset ya? I'll go have a 'word' with them, sort them out for ya..."
SP: "No, don't get involved, no-one needs to get involved..."
Replier 2: "Want me to come around?"
Now that is a mild version. We all know it's probably just a teenager who's fallen out with their boyfriend/girlfriend and is holding a pity party. But at the more serious end of the scale, you see genuine cries for help on social networking sites, be it someone announcing that they are going to cut up and waiting to be persuaded out of it, or someone leaving a suicide note as their FB status (yes, I have seen that on my feed, yes it was someone I knew in real life, and yes, they are now OK and getting help). The Amanda Todd case has brought this aspect of social media into the public eye recently, as both a contributing cause and a cry for help in her suicide.
There are places to go on the internet if you are depressed/suicidal/thinking of harming yourself or others. There are people who are specially trained to help you when you feel like no-one else in your real life can. Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter are NOT the best places. You don't know if those people are in just as bad a place as you. You don't know if their advice is good. Go to The Samaritans, Suicide Prevention (USA), CrisisLine (Canada). Their advice IS good. They are there for you and totally confidential. Plus, there will be no record in the public domain when you are trying to forget a bad period in your life.
Now I don't know about FB, but Twitter actually has a service to report users who are threatening to harm themselves or others. How/if they actually act upon this I don't know, but I think it's a step more social networks should have.
6). Once it's out there, it's there FOREVER. More and more employers now routinely check social media when hiring, so a mistake in your teenage years will still be there in your 30s when you are applying for a job. And just because you delete it doesn't mean someone else hasn't saved it, screen-capped it, or downloaded it. Not so cool posting about being wasted every Thursday/Friday night now, is it? People are actually losing out at job interviews for complaining about their previous employers. People are getting fired for tweeting/FBing/Pinteresting at work. Now I do use social media at work. The Facebook and Twitter accounts for the place where I work are run off my accounts. Anywhere else, I would presume that I couldn't!
7). People cannot entertain themselves any more. Now I'm not talking about the people who occasionally pop up with "...is bored at work...Tell me a joke!" I mean the people who, if they are awake, have to be on Twitter, MSN, WhatsApp, Facebook, Tumblr. On the computer. On their phones. Constant internet mental stimulation required to survive. Now, I appreciate that my generation is probably the last one that had to learn to entertain themselves without the internet. My niece could work an iPad better than me when she was 4 years old. It's not necessary to be able to entertain yourself any more, if you're bored there is an endless stream of people to talk to. But it IS necessary to have a life away from the internet. You can't rely on other people to entertain you 24/7. Use the internet if you are bored by all means, read a newspaper or book, write a book, keep a blog, do a course, even trawl Wikipedia for interesting "facts", but don't rely on social media to entertain you. You might be bored, but those people have lives, families, pets, jobs. Of course, online friends never nag you, ground you, rarely tell you off or irritate you, and never eat the last biscuit, so they are more fun than parents, children, friends, relatives and partners! Yay! But when online relationships become more important than real life relationships with family and friends, you have a serious problem. It's sad to see the same parents at work (usually Dads) out with their kids on the only weekends they get to see them, and the kids are playing or wandering around whilst the Dads are engrossed in their phones.
You can never get back the precious time that you get to spend in real life with other people, don't waste it finding out what someone else is doing!
Let's face it, when the apocalypse comes, the first things to go will be the electricity and phone lines. And what will you do then?!
*Examples taken from helpguide.org.

Project: Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Wreath!

I figured it had been long enough since we had a craft project on here. I have lots lined up for Christmas, but obviously I can't share any gifts on here until January. I can show my wreath, however. :)

I've had the bells in the picture below for years. In fact, I've had them since Pier's closing down sale, which coincided with the Iceland financial crisis, so you can tell how long ago that was. I never knew what to do with them, or rather, I could never think of a project good enough for them. Then the other day in one of my many Christmas magazines I spotted a beautiful jewel-colour-themed wreath, using baubles rather than bells, but it would still work!

I decided that I didn't want to spend too much on the project (the bells should have cost me £24, fortunately I got them 50% off), so I hit up Poundland for the rest of my supplies.

(Please excuse the state of my carpet in the following photographs. . . I was NOT about to hoover before I started chucking tinsel about!!).

My eyes were definiately bigger than my wreath, because I didn't end up using the small baubles or the crystals. I used: 1 wreath, 4m (2x2m packs) of tinsel, 1 roll of gold wired ribbon. 1 roll of gold elastic cord.

This is the wreath you start off with. Originally I was just going to trim the tinsel down, and glue the new tinsel over the top. I'm glad I fiddled around a little longer though, because the tinsel does come off very easily, leaving you with this:

The pattern for wrapping your tinsel is:
Fully wrapped!
Happy little pile of Christmas! :D

The strings on the bells really weren't that long, so I cut them all off, and replaced them with the elasticated cord. Using each of the 10 "full" bars on the wreath, I tied a bell into each of the three grid sections along the bar, to attach three bells in a row to each bar.

It was at this point that I decided the baubles and jewels were a bit of a waste, because I just couldn't figure out where they would look right!! I did decide to add a bow on the bottom, using the wired ribbon. I folded the whole rolls' worth in half (I think it was 2m), cut into two pieces, and tied the two pieces together into a double bow.
Then I threaded another piece of cord through the back of the bow (actually, that is the front of the bow, I decided the back looked better than the front!!).

All finished and on the wall! :D My husband did make me take it down as "It's only bloody November...". Booooooooo!! But, come Dec.1st it will be back in pride of place above my fireplace.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Listography: Six Songs Of Me

1. What was the first song you ever bought?First song...I honestly can't remember. I seemed to come by most of my early music as presents. The first music I would have been given (that I remember) was when I was about four or five years old. A Jive Bunny cassette, I think that was for my birthday, with a little red Sony Walkman. Shortly followed by a Neil Sedaka Greatest Hits cassette (I was convinced he was Bob from Sesame Street. Even though he wasn't Bob, I still love Neil Sedaka (and Sesame Street...) ;).

2. What song always gets you dancing?
That would have to be something cheesy like "The Macarena". Very few songs actually get me dancing, I'm really not much of a dancer at all. I have no moves. I either have to be tipsy, or guaranteed that a lot of people will look more stupid than me (hence, "The Macarena"). Recently I have been known to  modernise my repertoire with "Cha-Cha Slide".

3. What song takes you back to your childhood?
Lots! The "Laurel and Hardy" theme (Dad whistling), "Hole In The Ground" (singing in the bath it was my song of choice), "You Are My Sunshine" (Grandma's song of choice), "Magificent Men In Their Flying Machines" (Mum used to sing it to me to send me to sleep), "D.I.V.O.R.C.E" (no sad reasons, Tammy Wynette was my cassette of choice in Grandpa's car on the way to the farm), "Rhinestone Cowboy" (cassette of choice in Dad's car, Glenn Campbell). Guess I always was a country girl!

4. What is your perfect love song?
"All For Love", Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Sting. Our first dance at our wedding.
"All That Really Matters", Richie Sambora. One of the tracks we chose for our wedding DVD. It was also second choice for first dance, but "All For Love" won out because I would have cried if we had used "All That Really Matters", and the make-up lady was expensive. ;)

"When I look at you
I realise
There comes a time in someone's life
When you find things that matter
And every time we touch
The love runs deep
We realize it's our to keep
And that's all that really matters.
You'll always be my sweet addiction
In this life my saving grace
Girl you're all that really matters
You know it's true
There ain't no me without you."

5. What song would you want at your funeral?
"When I Get Where I'm Goin'", Brad Paisley Feat. Dolly Parton.

"When I get where I'm goin',
There'll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years.
And I'll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I'm goin',
Don't cry for me down here."

6. Time for the encore. One last song that make you you.
Do I really have one? There is an awful lot of music that I LOVE, just love, makes my heart happy, kind of love. I can't even pick a favourite song. I have a different one every day/week/month. I don't have an anthem. Even my husband can't think of one song that "makes me me". I suddenly and without warning get "Bolero" stuck in my head with alarming regularity, but I certainly wouldn't say that was a "makes me me" song, even if I do whistle it a lot. Hmm. I don't think I have an answer to that one!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Thank You, Bon Jovi

Dear Bon Jovi,

Thank you for making the tickets for your 2013 "Because We Can" tour reasonably priced.

When I heard that you were reducing the price of tickets for the next tour, I thought that you probably meant from £45 to £30, or something similar (ie, still too expensive). So all credit to you for making the cheapest tickets just £12.50.

I like to think that "Because We Can" refers to the fact that, because you are all filthy rich, you can afford to remember the people who got you there and give us some reasonably priced tickets for those who need them, even if it means maybe taking a whacking "pay cut" on the tour. That makes you even more awesome than I ever considered (and I already considered you in the top half of the top 10 of awesome).

Either way, I feel appreciated as a fan and (bonus!) now I can afford one of your gig T-shirts as well. Yay!

See you in Manchester!


Me xxx

P.S...Just teensy-weensy little thing: Next time can you make your ticket sale start on a different day to Michael Buble please? Also check dates with Nickelback, Bryan Adams, Meat Loaf, Disney On Ice. Just in case. Thanks.

P.P.S...You're AWESOME. *mwah*

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Dear Clothes People...

And by "clothes people" I mean all of you. Designers, buyers, the whole chain that gets fabric wearable items into shops.

I have friends of all different sizes. Tall friends, short friends, skinny and not so skinny friends, apples, pears, hourglasses, twigs, rectangles...Whatever the defining shapes are this season.

One common denominator for all of us, I'm finding, is that NONE of us can find clothes that fit properly. None of us are the same size in every shop. None of us are catered to by ANY shops, as far as sizes go.

I put it to you, Clothes People, that the problem is in fact not us and our weird and wonderful varying shapes, it is YOU.

This many randomly sized people can't be wrong.

Love, Me x

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Listography: The 5 Signs Of Christmas.

As soon as we hit October, the countdown to Christmas begins (unless you want to start at 100 sleeps, in which case you started on Sept 16th), and so I await The Five Signs of Christmas. . .

1). The Magical Elves are back!! No, I haven't finally flipped. These are the Magical Elves of which I rave:

Cadbury's Magical Elves are amazing. Well, OK, they're elf-shaped Freddo bars with popping candy in them. Not that that's not amazing, but what they represent is even more amazing. Christmas time is near!

2). The Boots Christmas Gift Guide. This sign seems to be arriving earlier and earlier. I remember sitting as a kid every Halloween after my trick-or-treating, waiting for Trick-or-Treaters to arrive, reading the Boots Christmas Gift Guide and the Studio Catalogue, sneaking sweets out of the Halloween bowl and making lists of things that I would never be able to afford. Holiday is two pay days away!

3). DFS "In Your Home For Christmas" adverts. The only DFS adverts that aren't depressingly annoying (Concerningly though, they do seem to be running one for the END of the sale?! Do they know something we don't? Is DFS run by the Mayans?!! *Debates pre-emptive Christmas on Dec. 11th just in case*). Christmas is near! But still far away enough to buy a new sofa. . .

4). Christmas Lights Switch-On. For us, the Friday after Bonfire Night is the big Christmas lights switch-on hoo-ha at work. And, even though for the past few years the decorations outside our shop have looked like giant glittery hemorrhoids, it does still put you in the mood for Christmas.

5). The Coca-Cola Truck Advert. I love this advert so much that I literally have the T-shirt. No really, I do, and it looks like this:
(Photograph Copyright TruffleShuffle.com)


Friday, 5 October 2012

Let's "Celebrate" Twilight BD p.2!! < /sarcasm>

And by "celebrate", clearly I mean mock unmercilessly with a little bit of pulling to shreds on the side.

Apparently people are already excited about the upcoming Twilight film. Cineworld are celebrating with a "Twilight Day" when you can watch all of the other films, back to back, finishing with the new film at 00:01 on release day. But for me, Twilight is wrong on so many levels.

I'm not just blindly criticising, I've read the books, and seen most of the films. Now that I have the full story, I just don't like it. It irritates me. It disturbs me. It also disturbs me that Stephanie Meyer advertises it as a lovely, teenage romance book, when a lot of it is vile on levels teenage girls won't see.

Edward is a stalker. If your teenage daughter had a regular teenage boy loitering around the garden and sneaking into her room in the dead of night to watch her sleep, that would raise security/legal issues. If the daughter was under-age and the man was much older, that would raise even more legal issues (and possibly a few pitchforks and flaming torches, depending on where you live).

If he were human, he would be a mentally (and occasionally physically) abusive, controlling partner. He takes away her right to make her own decisions, monopolises her time taking her away from what social circle she has and making her more reliant on him, threatens with displays of his power.

Meyer insists that Bella is a feminist because feminism "is the right to make a choice". Which is all very well. But that choice is essentially between necrophilia and bestiality. Lovely teenage romance book.

Let's get right to the heart of the matter. The cold, dead, unbeating heart. Now the whole issue of the last Twilight book and the latest film is Bella and Edward's child (who's bizarre compounded name escapes me at the moment). Let's go over that again. Child. Vampire . . . creating child. Now, I'm going to assume that you are all old enough to be familiar with the necessities behind creating children. But just incase any kids stumble across this, I'm not going to go into it. But essentially my problems with this stem from the cold, dead, unbeating heart. That, and this quote from Meyer:

"Most human fluids are absent in my vampires. No sweat, no tears, no blood besides that which they ingest–they don’t have their own blood."

Now for those who paid attention in Biology, we are going to be needing some blood to rush to some places here. There are no mentions of vampiric turkey-basters, put it that way. Edward has no blood. So some fans get around that by saying "But vampires are always described  as having bodies as hard as marble, granite, rock . . ." so maybe blood isn't necessary. Fair enough. I'll give way on the blood thing. Let's assume for a moment that Edward is a paler, wussier, more constipated-looking version of Thing from the Fantastic Four (sorry geeks). Other fluids are still required. See Meyer quote above.

And another thing . . .If vampires of both sexes all have rock-hard marble bodies . . . Well that just doesn't sound sexy at all to me. Surely the romantic scenes would have been more like this:

"It's clobberin' time!"

So [spoiler alert, if you care] there's pestle 'n' mortar time, there's a baby, Bella's a vampire (dear goodness, that miserable face for an eternity, ugh), there's a hot-blooded teenage werewolf boy fixated on a baby girl . . .Wait, what?! Excuse me? So . . . Jacob is madly in love with/fixated on Bella, until she goes all bitey, and then the fixation transfers to her baby when their eyes meet. Love at first sight. Which is covered in the book by the convenient "Oh, he loves her like a brother whilst she's a baby...It's only when she 'comes of age' that he will romantically fall in love with her . . ." So it's OK that he falls in love with a seven-year-old who looks seventeen, because before that he considered her his little sister?

And then my brain exploded.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

'Tis The Season...For Knitting!

I know quite a few people who are bringing out their needles and wool now that we are heading into Autumn (though it has been unseasonably warm over here in recent weeks, I think The Change is upon us). Last year, I decided that I would be one of them. I did manage it. I managed three thin scarves and one giant scarf, and another scarf-that-was-too-short-to-be-a-scarf-so-it's-now-a-weird-snood-thing.

Now I have to admit, I am not the best knitter. I cover this by claiming to be saving a craft or two for when I am old. To be honest, I firmly believe that a lot of the old ladies you see merrily knitting away have actually been knitting, making mistakes, undoing, and re-knitting the same piece of work since they were in their twenties. I do have many, many friends who are awesome at knitting though. I have friends who are so awesome at knitting they write about knitting for other people who know about knitting. Even my own Grandpa is a better knitter than I am, and I'm fairly certain he would win an award for "Least Likely To Knit". He can do stripes and use tiny thin needles, both of which are beyond me.

So far I have tried:

"Regular" Knitting
I was always a bit surprised how bad I am at knitting. I'm a creative person. I can sew, cross-stitch, draw, model, craft, bake...all pretty well (yes, modesty is another talent...I did say pretty well). Knitting? Not happening. Well, it happens a little. I can make squares, and rectangles. Which is all very well for making larger square or rectangular objects, but that's about it. I can even join rectangles together at the ends now and make snoods. But we all know how short-lived that fashion trend will be. *sigh* At least I'm not Knit-One-Drop-One any more, but even so, squares and rectangles are my limit. One colour, plain, chunky, squares and rectangles. But at least it's not a total fail.

That's only "regular" knitting, of course. I decided to branch out and see if Other Knitting was any easier.

I decided to try crocheting mainly because a magazine came out that gave away a crochet hook and two balls of wool to practice with. After a good couple of hours, much pulling apart of failed crocheting and even more hurling of profanity (and crochet hooks...), the project was cast aside to the back of the craft box, certain that the lovely blanket on the magazine cover was far out of reach.

A few months later, I decided to give it another shot. Fortunately for my sanity, the magazine had disappeared into the abyss that is my craft area, so off to Youtube I went. Bored of squares and rectangles, I decided to find something else. Flowers. That'll be pretty. I found this awesome tutorial video and, after an hour or so of meticulous pausing of the video every stitch or so, I had a fairly presentable-ish flower. So crocheting is not a total fail either. Yay!

French Knitting
I had one of those cute little French knitting dolls when I was a little girl.

Image Copyright myriadonline.co.uk

Now, when you're little, French knitting dolls are GREAT. You can, in a relatively short period of time, create a nice long (let's face it) woollen earthworm-esque object. As a child, that's great. Doll/teddy scarves, woolly bracelets, too-stretchy-to-be-useful shoelaces, hair bobbles, you name it, as long as it looks like a woollen earthworm, you can make it. I even remember making a coaster by wrapping my French knitting into a spiral, which was neither use nor ornament, given that a) it served little use in protecting furniture from heat or moisture, being made of wool, and b) it was made of a particularly eye-burning shade of neon (practically luminous) acid green wool (it was actually made from remnants of wool from a cardigan my Nana knitted me. I'm a neon 80s child, don't judge me...).

Now, re-think French knitting as an adult. An adult who has little to no use for woollen earthworms. An adult who has to ask a pretty obvious question: What the fudge do you use French knitting for?! Once you've knitted it, I mean. Once you're sat draped in woollen earthworms like Rapunzel draped in hair. I have images of little French Grandmas, French knitting away with their little dolls, until they have about a mile and a half long woollen earthworm, and then painstakingly coiling a jumper for their grandchildren like a potter coiling a vase on a pottery wheel.

Image Copyright Pot Bank Dictionary.

I say all hail those who are good at knitting. I will probably be practicing well into my 90s, when I finally create a perfect knitted item.

So now the only question is: Do I want to be buried in my final/first successful project, or leave it as a family heirloom?

There's a thought...I could always try a loom...

Friday, 3 August 2012

Listography: 5 Things I DON'T Hate About The Olympics 2012

If you missed my previous posts, here are Top 5 Reasons I Hate The Olympics 2012, and 5 More Things I Hate About The Olympics 2012.

But, the Olympics aren't all bad, even to me. So, here are 5 Things I DON'T Hate About The Olympics 2012.

1). The Awesome Nails/Hair Statements. All of the atheletes have their national uniforms that must be worn at all times when competing, but they, especially the ladies, are finding some wonderful ways of showing off their patriotic spirit/personalities. There have been some iffy moments (oh Ryan Lochte, you don't need a sparkly diamond grill to be pretty), but on the whole, they have been awesome. Also, I REALLY want to visit the nail bar in the video above.

Photo Rob Schumacher, USA Today Sports

2). Animals are allowed to compete. Well, horses. But seriously, I think horses should be paving the way for other animals in sport. We could have a whole animal Olympics, really. Rabbit hurdles, guinea pig long-jump, alligator/shark swimming (seperate pools, obviously), sheep racing, squirrel gymnastics, gorilla wrestling (two gorillas, not gorilla vs human), snail racing, monkey tennis (sorry foreigners who haven't seen Alan Partridge...just laugh, it's funny I assure you), and I'm fairly certain monkeys could be trained to fling discus and javelin instead of poo, there are definite possibilities here. Obviously the Olympic Village would have to be way more segregated than it is at the moment, just for the safety of the atheletes, but I think it could work.*

3). The red button. The BBC channels (for people in other countries where it might not...) have an extra features menu, that appears if you press the red button on your remote, and allow you to view other content/programmes that are additional to what's on the regular channel. The Olympics have a menu all of their own, which essentially allow you to flick through all of the sports live, and choose which live feed you want to watch. This basically means that you can flick through and look for the most attractive atheletes (I mean...most interesting sport...), and bingo! I love this feature.

4). We actually appear to be quite good at quite a lot of it. Sadly, we usually seem to focus all of our money, attention and TV coverage in England on sports that we are profoundly bad at. Football, cricket...Football...Cricket...You get the jist. It's nice to see us actually being televised at being good at something.

5). The Opening Ceremony was actually pretty awesome. Granted, we didn't (IMO) top the giant inflatible beavers, and there were some sketchy moments, like Paul McCartney, the formation Abe Lincolns (come on, non-UK residents...When you first saw it did you think Isambard Kingdom Brunel, or Abraham Lincoln? Honestly?), and the NHS bit with the commentator reporting that "Children are often afraid of staying in hospital...Here children's book characters make it less frightening..." as a giant puppet Voldemort seemingly lifted a small girl's hospital bed up into the air accompanied by scary music and fired sparks out of his wand. But on the whole, I enjoyed it, and I have to say, I LOVED the idea for the flame, it was just beautiful.

* FYI...I am opposed to cruelty to animals/real-life animal "sports" that involve any kind of cruelty at all.

22-04-12 - Disney Hollywood Studios

On Sunday, we headed for Disney Hollywood Studios. I think this was possibly another park that we didn't quite get the best out of, though we did go back a second (and maybe a 3rd?) time.
I'll spare you all the stuff about where we parked, etc, etc. The parks all have really cute names for their car parks. But, if you care, you probably already know all about that! Take it as read that arrival at the parks (unless otherwise specified) went pay, park, get on golf-cart train, get off golf-cart train, enter park. :)
I didn't really know what to expect from DHS. Like AK, for me it was one of the peripheral attractions when we were planning our trip, and I hadn't really done much research on it, other than it had Muppet Vision 3D and Star Tours, both of which we really wanted to see/ride.
I loved DHS! The theming was awesome, especially all the 50s buildings.

We decided that, as we had done the rest of the holiday, we would just go on whatever rides we stumbled across with short lines! First up: The Great Movie Ride! I fell in love with the queuing area! I love film props, especially costumes.

Mary Poppins' carousel horse! I love Mary Poppins, my copy of it had no credits at the start or the end because I'd worn them off watching it so much!!

The Great Movie Ride is...well...GREAT! There was a little too much "rider interaction" for my liking, and I don't really like scary movies (and have a REALLY low threshold for scary!), but I still really enjoyed it even though I hadn't seen some of the films referenced. My favourite bit was definitely The Wizard Of Oz! I love that film, and Munchkinland looked just like it does in the film.

I was glad one of John's favourite films was in there too...Casablanca!  We actually had a Casablanca-themed wedding reception! I didn't manage to get a shot of that scene though. :( The plane used in the Casablanca scene is actually only half a plane. The back half is in the Jungle Cruise! Also, it's not the plane used in the actual film. Apparently some tour guides still say/hint that it is. Do you really think Disney would be allowed to cut the real plane in half?! No way!! (Plus there was only one real plane in Casablanca, and it wasn't used in the closing scenes...It's the one that delivers Major Strasser).

We had a good wander around before we went on anything else. One of the things John remembered for MGM Studios (as it was last time he went) was the Indiana Jones show, so we decided to head in for a showing of that.

 We tried to only eat one meal a day in the parks, and go somewhere else for something different. It didn't always work, but that was the theory! For lunch we decided to hit up Pizza Planet. First though I stopped for some snaps of The Muppets!

We ♥ The Muppets! :D

The view from our table...Looking out at Swedish Chef Catering!
 The pizza was scrumptious, I see now why I've seen so many great reviews of Disney pizza! Even Pizza Hut pizza isn't as nice as Disney pizza. We ate upstairs in Pizza Planet, watched over by the three-eyed aliens (one of my favourite TS characters!). I found a souvenir from Pizza Planet in my bag when we got home...Cheese in a packet!! Now, maybe this is normal over there, but I can honestly say I have never seen paremesan cheese in little (like sugar) packets before!

We decided to stick with the galactic theme, and star the post-lunch rides with Star Tours. We struck REALLY lucky that day. The quoted wait time was over an hour, however we wandered up past Tattooine Traders (I was really impressed that it looked "Just like it does in the film!" Only to be told that there is no Tattooine Traders in the film. I guess Star Wars just isn't Disney enough for me to pay 100% attention!!) to see what everyone was standing around staring at. Turns out we had just missed the Pixar Pals parade! :( However, whilst we were standing around bemoaning our bad timing (well, I was, John didn't really care!) the CM in charge of the queue opened the lines back up again. "Are you waiting to ride Star Tours?" she asked. We replied that yes, were were now! And we were let straight in first! No 60+min queue for us! We did meet the back of the queue who must've been waiting since before the parade, but we only had about a 10min wait. Buh-bye, 60+min queue!!
 The queue for ST is like an intergalactic airport, with R2D2, C3PO, and other characters from the film interacting around you. I was actually a little disappointed that we didn't have a few more minutes to take in the sights, as it was SO well done (well, what did I expect, it is Disney, after all!). Soon we had collected our 3D glasses (which, bizarrely, were different both times we went on the ride? Not sure if they switched from one design to the other and we were on the cross-over period, but I found that a little weird!) and were loaded into our space craft.
I'm glad that I took this picture of John in the 3D flight goggles...because they are totally different to the ones you see on everyone else's pictures, and also the ones we got later in the trip! Mine were the same, old-fashioned style 3D glasses. The ones we had on our next "flight" were the usual silvered ones.

I wasn't sure what to expect from ST, not being a Star Wars fan (I love Yoda and the Ewoks, and know the plot from "The Saga Begins" thanks to the Weird Al Yankovic song...and here endeth my Star Wars knowledge). I LOVED it. I think I'd go as far as to say that I loved it more than John, who isn't overly into the in-your-face simulator rides (it's hard to tell, his outward enthusiasm barely putters above level 2-3 on a normal person's scale). It was definitely one of my favourite rides, and I love the fact that every time you ride it the story is different. Awesome, AWESOME idea. You exit, of course, into Tattooine Traders. I think it was on one of the buses at Nasa that the driver told us about the most important Florida State Law: Always Exit Through The Gift Shop. It's funny but true, EVERY major attraction has it's exit doors open straight into a gift shop! Seriously, if we ever go with children, I am taking Post-Ride Blindfolds to be put on at the end of every ride. Wayyyyyyyy cheaper!

After we'd had our fill of browsing in Tattooine Traders, we headed back to The Muppet theatre, via the awesome...er...space...bike...thing.

To The Muppet Theatre!!

Cutest. Queuing. Area. EVER. I took more photographs of it later in our trip...Once again on this visit, we just walked in right as the doors were open and Bingo! No queue. S'ok, you can hate me later. :P

Did I mention how much my husband LOVES The Muppets?! I think this was one of the best bits of the trip for him.

I forgot to take a photo of us in our Muppet-Vision 3D glasses. :( Oh well. The Muppet Show is amazing, I loved it. Bean Bunny is one of my very favourite characters (carol-singing in Muppet Christmas Carol?! SO adorable!!), and I think he's normally really under-used, so this show made me really happy!

Even the shop is perfectly themed, with cute little signs all over the place, it was brilliant.

We went for a wander next (I think we were headed for Streets Of America? Can't remember now), and we spotted a Meet 'n' Greet spot, so we joined the queue!

Ka-chow! It's Lightning McQueen! And Tow Mater!! :D

We found the Singing In The Rain umbrella!

I told John to do a Singing In The Rain pose. I guess he wasn't into that.

I was! The best bit of the whole umbrella escapade was the Hispanic family waiting to use the umbrella after us. Whilst I held this pose, I slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly rotated backwards like a saloon door. They were so bemused by the crazy English girl, they couldn't stop laughing!! Fortunately, neither could I!
Streets Of America.

Lights, Motors, Action! Unfortunately we didn't get to see the show. :( I would have been a lot more keen to see it if I'd realised that Lightning McQueen was in it!

The fountain from Splash!

Props from Pirates of the Caribbean!

Waiting for The Backlot Tour.

The shed from Hannah Montana: The Movie...*ahem*...Apparently. So I'm told...
I've totally seen the movie. In the cinema. It was awesome. *oh the shame*
Some props on the way to the little tram cars. I didn't get any shots of the pre-tour show.

The Earfel Tower! :D

The Costume Dept. I SOOOOOOOOO want to work there. That would be my dream job. Unfortunately 9.5hrs is a bit of a long commute. :(


N234MM...One of the planes Walt Disney used to scout areas in Florida to place Walt Disney World.

Catastrophe Canyon.


Surprisingly, I DIDN'T get wet! John did, but not much.
The pumps and cannons that cause the catastrophe.

The N234MM again.

Haven't we all got some?!

One thing I really wanted to see at DHS was Beauty And The Beast. It really made me want to see the whole show!

My favourite costume of all! Katy Perry meets Beauty And The Beast!!

Mrs Potts has clearly been pulling a few all-nighters!

It was starting to look busier when we got out of the show, so we headed for a wander around.

This beautiful car was just parked up outside!!

I chickened out and we didn't go on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Maybe next time.

I had heard LOADS of recommendations for Fantasmic! at DHS, and so I knew that we would have to stick around for that! All of the guide books and websites recommended getting there at least an hour before the show started. I can't remember quite what time we arrived, but it was at least an hour! We got some popcorn and (totally amazing) caramel corn, and took our seats. This was about the time we realised the difference between caramel corn and popcorn. We'd expected caramel corn to be like Butterkist toffee popcorn, and popcorn to be like cinema sweet popcorn. Apparently not. Popcorn is always salty. :S

Great view!!

The down-side to getting to Fantasmic! really early: The "entertainers" they have warming up (/winding up) the crowd. They were awful. SO annoying. Also the waiting music is loads of really bad modern versions of Disney classic tracks. Yeah...the wait was probably the least fun we had on Disney property. However, the show was worth the wait a hundred times over.

Yay! The awful "entertainers" are gone!! :D

Here they come!! Fantasmic! is where you can see the most characters in one place at one time in any park.

And that concludes our day at Disney Hollywood Studios! :D Fantastmic! was an amazing show, I loved it. Not as much as I love Wishes, which I think is my all-time favourite show EVER, but it was pretty damn good!

After we left DHS we headed to Hooters for something to eat. We're hockey people, it was the play-offs...perfect place for us! Plus I love Hooters (I think I love it more than John, how weird is that?!) and at home, the nearest Hooters is about 50 miles away, so we only get to go once or twice a year. We got an AWESOME table, we could see hockey on about 5 screens all around us. I had my usual boneless BBQ wings, but I had to splash out this time and had dessert too! The funniest/most uncomfortable thing at Hooters was the table full of guys sat behind us. They were majorly hitting on their (and our) waitress, telling her all about how they worked at Disney World, they got all these freebies, the cast shop, blah blah blah. You could tell she'd heard it a million times before! They were asking her all these questions, to "win" fastpasses for Splash Mountain (where one of them supposedly worked). In the end they tipped her in fastpasses for Splash Mountain. She was complaining to us that now she has to spend her own money to get to use her tip! She didn't pass them on though...haha!