Sunday, 30 October 2011

look who we caught up with


You may remember we were burgled in June this year.


Well Thomas has been sentenced, and Chris was lucky enough to be able to deal with him in person.


He had aged during his time in prison. It would seem it was his 50th birthday!

It isn’t really Thomas, it’s his doppelganger Dennis. Dennis was one of Chris best mates at school and Dennis was known as second hand man, as he always asked out Chris girlfriends when they split up. The last girl Chris went out with before me, was Cheryl. She was the reason, I said yes to a blind date when Chris rang me out of the blue. I had recently come out of a long relationship at 16 years old, and he had been waiting for me for years. I was very impressed when he told me on the phone he had just split up with Cheryl. She was the IT girl of Stevenage, where we grew up. She was stunningly beautiful. It would seem no one ever asked her out as she was so intimidating. My hubby is never intimidated, so he asked her out. Probably over the phone like me.

I thought, God he must be handsome! So I agreed to a blind date. Meanwhile Dennis had jumped in and asked Cheryl out. They ended up getting married the same year as us and went on to have a boy and girl at the same time.


When we saw the image of our burglar on the internet, it put all our minds at rest to see he looked so like Dennis. He bites his bottom lip just like Dennis always does. He looks the spitting image of Dennis at 22.

Last night Cheryl arranged a surprise 50th party for the birthday boy. I got to boogie on the dance floor until my sleeping tablets kicked in and Chris got to catch up with old friends from school.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

I’m all packed

Well if you know me at all , you will know I have been packed for weeks.

I LOVE packing. The majority of the clothing I am taking to hospital is all brand new. I wanted to wear light, comfy bright nightwear. The nurse on my pre-hospital day advised me to buy /bring front fastening clothes, as I won’t be allowed to lift my arms up. So I had to have a sort through my wardrobe and purchase a few more new things.










I absolutely adore my Longchamp suitcase I bought years ago. It cost an arm and a leg, but it has been all around the World with me, and it always makes me feel good.

A sweet girl bought me the beautiful scarf at the top of the pile. I was so touched that she came with a good luck card and this lovely prezzie. I had remarked on her scarf the last time I saw her and she went out and bought me one. How lovely is that.


I’m taking a few scarfs to brighten up my nightwear.


Some new slippers have had to added to the mix , as the nurse wasn’t happy about me wearing Crocs for the physio sessions I will need.


Some bright loose fitting clothing, for if I am feeling up to getting dressed.

Some reading matter and lots of DVDs I have been wanting to watch for months. My iPod and my daughters iPod touch. And I couldn’t go without my hair straighteners



A book I am hoping to fill great chunks of.

I have another Cath Kidston big bag filled with snacks. A hot water bottle, as I can’t sleep without something warm. Some baby wipes. And I have lots of other things to be added at the least minute. Food may be a major issue for me in hospital. Even in a restaurant , there is rarely more than one thing I can eat. My last stay in hospital I had to be made toast, as I don’t eat sandwiches, fruit or yoghurt that was offered.

I have been told that eating maybe an issue, anyway after the surgery , due to everything being moved to get to my disc at the back. Today is the start of my low residue diet leading up to the surgery. So I may not be eating properly for the next two weeks, until I return home.

I was hoping I could be brought food by visitors, but the hospital won’t allow any meals to be bought in. If I haven’t eaten for days, I may get someone to sneak me a sausage roll in.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

21 years old


I have been busy getting everything ready for my stay in hospital. I spent an exhausting day at the hospital for my pre-op tests. There was so much walking to get from each underground station to the next, it knocked me for six. I was still recovering days later. But at least I’m now aware, there is no way I will be able to do that after my operation. I was planning on traveling by train for my physio sessions, as I won’t be able to drive. But the distances I had to walk to get from platform to platform was ridiculous. So I won’t be doing that again, in a hurry. It took me an hour and a half from door to door.


The nurse didn’t tell me anything about the operation that I didn’t already know. She just reinforced that I won’t be allowed to do anything but rest and walk for months after the op. I was hoping I might be able to sit for a bath in the near future, but she said that will be a long way off. Quite how I am going to keep the old lady grey hairs at bay is unknown. I’m not allowed to lean back or forwards at the hairdressers. She said just leave it for months!!!!.


It would seem I am not allowed to sit down much either after the op. One of the things I was most looking forward to doing. Plus, I have just weighed my beloved laptop and I won’t be able to carry it after the operation either. It weighs too much. So I have borrowed my sons latest iPod touch to have a play. As I may have to resort to buying an iPad.

During my convalescence I want to use the time wisely. I have bought photography books and guides to using Photoshop. I have a wealth of images already and waiting. I think I have found my own style of photography that speaks to me. I like strong eye contact close ups. With striking catchlights. I’m not into groups of people or full body.

Last week I finally got around to learning a technique to edit eyes. So it has made my images even stronger.


I jumped at the chance to ask Luke, a boy I used to childmind if he would like a free photo-shoot with me for his 21st Birthday. I haven’t seen him for about 15 years and I don’t think he really remembers me, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity. He is a struggling musician and was scouted to work at Abercrombie & Fitch in London. As anyone knows they only want lookers to work there. I’m afraid I’m a bit partial to a looker. I can’t be shooting ugly mugs. I’m shallow like that.

I know any images I got from the shoot, would be great for my portfolio. I planned all the locations and poses. But unfortunately Luke's hunger and the rain stopped the shoot.

Luke for web


Luke for web2

I’m afraid I think he was a bit shell shocked after the shoot. I had talked to him solidly for over an hour. He is out of work and I was given him advice and trying to boost his confidence.

What you can’t tell from the pictures is that he had a broken arm.We tried to keep it out of the shots.


This one above was a lot of peoples favourite image on Facebook, but mine is this one.


Luke's favourite and the only one he’s sharing on Facebook is this one.


He started the shoot as a reluctant model, but after he saw the photos load on to my computer, he was up for getting all his friends together to shoot for me. The great thing is they are all lookers as well, with a few real models thrown in the mix. So I’m hoping to use Luke and his friends for my assignments in the Karen Russell workshop I am retaking in January.

It’s handy as he is a skateboarder (hence the broken arm) and I always struggle with the action assignments.

I was amazed when I went to cull the images. I only had two with Luke's eyes shut. I have 175 PEREFCT images I had to choose from. He was a pro, either that or he was shell shocked from me talking at him.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Boo…. Am I scary?


I got this idea for a fun, different looking pumpkin from a Martha Stewart magazine, hubby brought me back from Chicago. The eyeballs are from Sainsbury's.

Luckily there were 3 in the packet. As I was straightening one of his wonky eyes, it popped into his head. So phew, that third eye came in handy.

Tasmin couldn’t resist the maraca shaped squashes, when we went pumpkin shopping.


As I have been feeling so well, and can now sit down for long periods. I booked myself onto an advanced Canon photography course. I got a bit excited when I found out my camera can video with sound. I have no idea why this had passed me by. I knew it could video, but the sound was a surprise to me. The only problem is I can’t work out how to watch them on my computer. They don’t download with the Jpegs ??

2011 Oct PumpkinsI still can’t believe, that before June 2010, I didn’t have a clue what an ISO or aperture was. I can talk, camera talk now, and I even know what I mean. I’m still learning, and I regularly have ah ha moments, when things come together. This day bought it’s own surprises. In front of me sat an amazing wedding photographer, and we are planning to met up. It’s weird how people appear when you least expect it, but you are ready for them. I am excited about the future that is heading my way.

I have booked myself a place as an auditor on my mentors January photography workshop. She taught me everything I now know and I love her style of photography. But this time during the workshop, my Photoshop mentor, Erin is going to join us for the first time. It was a chance I couldn’t miss.

It will be great to redo the entire workshop, when I know I will get loads of new ah ha moments. Things should fall into place this time, now I don’t have so much to learn. I will have months of weekly assignments and pushing myself to achieve. And last time I was a bit of a chatterbox on the class forum, from which I made lots of new lasting friends.

Then for May 2012, I have taken a huge leap of faith and booked myself on my ultimate photography idols workshop, here. I can’t wait to see what an Aussie will do with our (lack of) light here in the UK.

I’m exciting to think what I will be able to achieve after all their help and knowledge, filters it’s way into my brain.


If I can achieve these images, from a shoot this week filled with flaws. Think what I could achieve when I have complete control.


I hope my usual lack of models won’t set me back for the assignments. So hopefully my nieces above, will come to my rescue, along with two new models I shot this week.



Oh and I didn’t win the best photo from the Bishops Stortford photowalk with the image below. Unsurprising to me and Tasmin, Andrew  the leader choose his best mates image. You can see it here.

Hey, I’m not bitter. (well, just a little bit ) As I learnt on my camera class this week. Men like pictures of things and views, and us women like pictures of people.



I wanted to share this amazing voice with you.

I realise that not everyone is as addicted to TV as I am. So you may have missed Drew’s audition on the American version of X Factor.

I just showed it to Chris, who was tucked up in bed when we watched it past midnight last night.

“I don’t think she’s that great” he said, as his lip trembled and tears fell from his eyes.

No, I agree she’s not that great….. She’s amazing….. and she is only 14….

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Project Life

Week thirty seven



Two cards waiting to be filled in by hubby about his time in the States.

Extra scrap layout insert of photo shoot. Of course, waiting for me to ruin it with journaling.












Week thirty- eight



Week thirty-nine



An insert of a photo-shoot I did during this week.


Week forty



I still have to write the journaling card for Tasmins 21st birthday. She was away for her birthday, so I don’t have any images of the day. I included the IOU card I made her, which we gave in lieu of a present. It’s an IOU for a car, if and when she ever passes her driving test !!

I also have to add this photo of Tasmin I entered for the best image taken during the Scott Kelby Photowalk.


Sunday, 9 October 2011


The pain came back yesterday.

Who would think I would be glad to say that. But after my blog post yesterday, you might understand how being pain free was confusing me. But after a painful evening in front of the TV watching XFactor and then an even more painful sleepless night. It was just what I needed to remind me, I need to do something about my back.

Whilst I was having that well spell, I was able to comfortably sit down for hours on end. So I took advantage and got down to the task of editing some pictures, I took a few weeks ago of a family I met at a party.

I was blessed on the day with the weather, It was warm, sunny but with a nice covering of soft cloud. Just enough to stop any spots of broken light on my scenes I had set up.

I invited Anna Bowkis along for the shoot. She has recently set up as a professional photographer, offering lifestyle style photography. I was talking to friends about the shoot and how challenging it is for a photographer to shoot black skins, and it has been even harder for me to edit them in Elements. They rolled their eyes and gave me “the look " numerous times that it shouldn’t be talked about. It would be seen as been racialist. I see it more as being a realist. I had warned the couple that neither of us had shot black skins before, and it would be a steep learning curve for us both.

We had both posted questions on our respective professional forums we belong to for help. But it would seem we were not alone. Nobody else had dared shoot black skins. So we read as much as we could and got down to the task in hand.

Of course we practised on each other before the family arrived. We discussed white balance and using the reflector. We talked poses and locations. But as always it all went out of the window, when they arrived. I didn’t do one white balance reading !!.

2011 Sept 24th pull backs from shoot

It was certainly a challenge as any shoot with a new-born and a 19 month old toddler would be. I found myself singing the wheels on the bus, VERY loudly. I didn’t even know I still knew the words after 20 years. But hopefully one thing I can do is engage people. With my big mouth its a given.


Tomorrow Farayi is coming to pick up the finished edited images and all of the out takes I didn’t use. I am sure she will be very pleased with them.

I mean they were FREE.


She has loved sharing them with her friends and family on Facebook and some will be winging their way to family in Nigeria. It’s nice to think my hours of hard work will be appreciated and loved.















The only thing concerning me is. These were all edited on my colour calibrated monitor and they look a but wish washy on here.

I was hoping to make her a scrap layout as a prezzie ,but I haven't got time today. I am waiting for my sister to arrive with my nieces as it’s my daughters 21st birthday.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

I’m freaking out,here

really and truly shitting myself.

Its only 3 weeks and 2 days until my ALIF operation on my back  (video here). Of course the inevitable has happened. It’s started to feel better. I spent my Pilates class yesterday, contorted in positions, I haven’t been able to do in a year and a half. I’m walking freer,and leaving my stick at home.

Friends have said its psychosomatic. Others, have said it’s a good thing as, I will be in a relaxed state for the op. And I have even toyed with the idea that the bloody magazine stylists healing, may have worked.

Why, did it have to happen now. I’ve waited months for something to be done. Months of pain and discomfort. And now it decides to bloody improve, making me scared of the months of pain I will now go through after the operation.

I spoke to the hospital today, and they said I could always postpone the operation. But I am all packed and everyone knows I am going in. The freezer is packed with meals and homemade cakes. Lots of my old friends have suddenly asked to met me for coffee and lunch. Its like they are all saying goodbye to me. All very weird.

These pictures are from this week alone!!!




I’m freaking out, whether the operation is now the right thing to do. (even though I actually had a bad night and am sat in pain at this mo.) Of course I have been doing that inevitable thing all us internet surfers do. I have been surfing in shark infested waters. Somehow, I always end up on the ALIF back operation forum. I get hooked into the woes of fellow ALIF post op stories. Its freaking me out reading about all the pain and immobility they all suffer from. Some for well over a year after the operation.

I kept reading about the frustration of the BLT on the forum. It took me hours to work out what it meant. Then I realised what it stood for. I am not allowed to Bend, Lift or Twist for months post operative. How the hell do you not do that. You are not allowed to bend as you sit down on the toilet, no bending over the sink when you brush your teeth. And you try getting dressed without bending or twisting or even getting out of bed for that matter.


Poor Teddy won’t be able to be walked by me. How would I pick up one of his little messages. All of these things I have struggled with over the last 18 months. But I don’t want to go back to the time of hovering over the toilet or stuck in a chair or bed. I hated it.

The stomach problems from the abdomen surgery involved, seem to be a major thing post op on the forum. I have problems now from all the past medication, so I don’t want to add even more to the mix.

Add to the fact hubby told me yesterday, the insurance company have already paid out their contribution for the operation to the consultant and anaesthetist. We just have to pay our bit now.


PS…Whilst writing this. I thought Teddy was with hubby.

Hubby thought he was with me, but in fact he was tucking into a packet of chocolate digestives packed in my hospital bag.

He ate a whole bloody packet !!!


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