Netflix Binge

I initially only subscribed to Netflix to continue watching Once Upon a Time after Season 4, but over time I have slowly found myself watching a few films and the odd show on the site. 

After reading so much hype about it online, I decided to watch 13 Reasons Why. This would not be my usual choice of genre as I generally prefer something much more lighthearted. However, I found myself hooked from the first episode. I finished all 13 episodes in 5 days, squeezing in viewings whenever I could. The teen angst in the show was scarily relatable and the programme highlighted the impact actions can have on others, something that reminded me to take more note of my own actions. 

The show has sparked a real debate about its portrayal of suicide. I do not want to enter into a big discussion about this, but I believe it did nothing to glamourise this and it has succeeded in raising awareness, which is very important. 

If you are looking for a new show, I would recommend this. Despite being uncomfortable to watch at times, you will not want to stop. The show still haunts me days after finishing it…

Model dog 

A while ago I saw an offer online for a pet photo shoot and bought it. Even though I take nice pictures of Dylan, I wanted something professional to hang in my newly decorated bedroom. 

We went to the studio and the lady was lovely with him. He behaved so well and enjoyed playing in a new environment. The shoot lasted one hour and one week later I went back to see the images. They were great and I even featured in a couple of them. I narrowed it down to my two favourites after much deliberation; one of him and me and one of him alone. The individual picture of Dylan sums him up perfectly as a gorgeous and happy dog.

I collected the images yesterday and the look fantastic. I am really happy with them and cannot wait to frame and hang them.

Happy Easter

It has been a wonderful and calm Easter break and I have spent plenty of quality time with my family and little Dylan.

As a cute little Easter image, I put together an Easter basket with our Easter chocolate and placed it in the garden. I gently tied a red ribbon round Dylan’s neck to emulate the Lindt bunny and sat him next to it. He is great at posing for pictures and sat like a professional.

Here is the photo. Enjoy a very happy Easter with your family and friends.

New glasses 

I have been wearing contact lenses since I was 16 years old. I was finally free of wearing glasses. Even though my mother would spend a great deal of money on my glasses and buy me several pairs, I always felt as if nobody could see beyond them. I couldn’t have imagined ever wanting to wear glasses outside of the house again after I started wearing contacts. I felt people saw me for me rather than what I wore on my face. 

My confidence grew as I got older and people didn’t know me for being a glasses wearer. Roll on nine years and I still felt the same. Whenever I put on a pair on glasses, I reverted back to the shy secondary school girl with little to no confidence in herself. This was until I went to Specsavers to buy myself some new glasses (I had broken my others falling asleep in them.) 

The lady in the store was extremely helpful and searched high and low to find me a pair in which I felt confident. I tried on many but was not sure. She took my photo and ran comparisons, but it wasn’t until I had nearly given up that she found the perfect pair – Gant tortoiseshell. I put them on and felt happy. They suited me and I could imagine wearing any outfit with them. They were bold but I didn’t feel like I would be hiding behind them. For the first time ever, I had found a pair of glasses that lifted my confidence and that felt great. 

Chocolate Bark

My family is very health conscious so giving an Easter egg for Easter is probably not the best idea. They like chocolate but only a little. I decided it would be an idea o create a series of fruit and nut chocolate barks.

I bought nice quality dark chocolate from Marks & Spencer and melted this down in six different batches. I added a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, desiccated coconut, dried cranberries, pecans, pistachios and Brazil nuts and created six different flavours and poured the mixtures onto baking parchment into bar shapes. I left them to set for a few hours and, once set, I cut each bar into three pieces. I grouped them into six groups of three flavours and places onto cellophane. I tied the edges together with ribbon and double knotted them.

The end result was very kitsch and cute. They looked like thoughtful gifts and would be a much healthier snack than a normal chocolate bar.    

11 months

I can’t believe that my little Dylan is now 11 months old. He has brought me so much joy and is such a happy little dog. He is my shadow at home, rarely leaving my side.

I have started taking him to training classes, which has been quite an experience. As we have two other dogs with whom he always walks, he rarely comes out with me alone. The classes have shown he can be very nervous alone and it breaks my heart to see this. The trainer said this will improve in time and I hope this will be the case. I look forward to building his confidence and and creating an even stronger bond between us.

Bake Sale

My work held a charity bake sale to raise money for a local hospice and I wanted to both donate and bake. 

I searched online for a simple but effective cake and found a great one on Waitrose.com. It was a dark chocolate and pomegranate layered cake. It included pomegranate juice in the sponge which made the texture really light and springy. I made a chocolate ganache with maple syrup for between the layer and the outside and was surprised by how nice it looked.

I am by no means a baker but I like to do my bit to help charity. I enjoyed the process and the bake sale was a success. 

Swan Lake

I am very lucky that my place of work is set in the most beautiful grounds. There are birds everywhere and my two favourites are regular viewings: the robin and the swan. 

There is a pretty lake with two swans who glide gracefully across its surface and take showers in the fountains. Walking to the lake is a lunchtime highlight and a calming experience. The tranquility of nature is not to be underestimated. I always feel refreshed for an afternoon of work after visiting my feathered friends. 

Beauty and the Beast Crafts

Last weekend at my local library, I ran a Beauty and the Beast craft session. With the popularity of the live action movie, the session was rather well attended. 

I was surprised that a mix of both boys and girls turned up as I expected the session to attract only girls. The most popular craft with the boys was creating a Cogsworth figure with moving clock hands and a swinging pendulum. The girls preferred making the enchanted rose in its glass casing. I also offered the opportunity to decorate plastic goblets, make bows, create beast masks and make rose bookmarks.

It was very successful and the children really enjoyed it. I have now planned a Snow White themed craft session to continue with the Disney princess theme.