Sunday, 14 October 2012

Halloween Fun

Been busy making some fun pumpkin photos this weekend so here`s some of my favourites.

Really like this one.

Flash Harry


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Bingo Lingo blog Post

Bingo Lingo are running a competition to win amazon vouchers and to take part you need to let them know what your bingo lingo is. You can tweet them or create a blogpost

“My Bingo Lingo is (PUT BEST BINGO LINGO HERE) #BingoLingo @CostaBingo”

On a girly weekend away we had came up with some bingo lingo ryhmns so here they are. 

Number 3  this Hippy is Free


 Smirnoff unopened is mission impossible!

so we decide Vodkawitch was Number 6

Vodkawitch is me here I`m telling everyones fortune

 Mary tries the curry

Scary Mary is number 30

Shaz Alison and Jenna

She`s not mine is number 9

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Monaco F1 2009

Arriving in Monaco is like arriving in a Fantasy land with the Palace sitting on a cliff overlooking the whole sun drenched area. The harbour is crammed with yachts costing millions of pounds and tiny fishing boats, a cruise ship the size of a stadium anchored in the bay.

Feet away from the harbour a fairground sat along the harbour wall playing music and spinning rides. There are houses, villas and tower blocks climbing up the steep hills all vying for a sea view.

Then a steep road to the left leads up to the Hotel de Paris and the Monaco Casino, as you walk up the hill you can almost hear the roar of the Grand Prix cars. Then you choose your spot amongst the crowds and wait for the spin of   the wheels and the screams of excitement.  

The  Monaco Grand Prix race has started and Jenson Button is ripping up the tarmac. It is 2009 and the cars flash by like lightening and the cheers from the fans is heard in Cannes. The checked flags wave as the race gets closer to the finish. The cars overtaking each other with inches to spare and the drivers are hugging the tarmac. This race was the most exciting for me as I had never been to a Grand Prix before. The champagne cork pops and the spray soaks the Jubliant winner Jenson. Monaco prepares to celebrate.

Then walk into the Hotel de Paris and enter the world of the super rich, it is exquisite with a ballroom as magnificent as any palace. Outside Rolls Royce Shadows park next to Minis and tour buses spill out the day trippers.
The Monaco Casino costs 10 euros to enter and you need photographic ID no cameras are allowed inside. The card tables and roulette wheels are anxious to tempt your money away at lightening speed and the Blue Train Room restaurant winks its pretty lights. There are private rooms for the seriously wealthy and slot machines in neat rows and comfortable chairs. Outside in the square fountains reflect the manicured grass with clever mirrors and the cafe offers shelter from the midday sun.

Monte Carlo Casino

You end the day vowing to come back next year and watch the spectaculor F1 racing again as you fall in love with Monte Carlo.

Monaco flashbacks Competition. has teamed up with Independent WorldChoice sports to offer F1 bloggers the chance to win two tickets to the 2013 race taking place on the 26th May along with return business class flights, breakfast, dinner and drinks. This is your opportunity to watch the likes of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel do battle around the famous streets right before your eyes

In order to enter our competition, all you have to do is write a blog post about the best Monaco Grand Prix that you have seen. This must be at least 500 words long and highlight the reasons for your choice. Perhaps it is due to some stand out performance such as Michael Schumacher's brilliant wet weather victory in 1997 or maybe it is because of the pure excitement at an event, like the breath-taking battle for the lead between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell at the end of the 1992 race.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Vintage fashion

This is my favourite Marks and Spencers dress

Product Image

I think it has everything from secret control to striking detail. With Dallas back on the TV glamour will be with us for some time. Vintage dresses are not all about flowers but are about style and detail. With nipped in waists flattering lengths, contrasting colours and a great fit. This dress has all of those things. I would wear it with killer heels and vintage bracelets to parties weddings and a red hot dinner date.

Here is my dress which I bought in 1986 for a wedding and wore endlessly it is still in my wardrobe. Look at my 80`s big hair thankfully hair styles are more sleek today.

Monday, 3 September 2012

London Photos

London Eye With Big Ben seen through the wheel

South Bank

Raymond Blanc with Richard

Monday, 20 August 2012

Tuscany looks Stunning

Tuscany looks stunning and I want to see the wonderful mountainous scenery or visit fabulous Siena.  Siena looks exciting and the famous Palio horse race where the atmosphere in the town in full of fun and expectation seems a must.

I have never been to Tuscany but would love to. In the words of a chef I should have been born Italian.  I find this beautiful country pulls me like a magnet.

There are so many reasons I would love to go to Tuscany that I have created a Pinterest Board with the link below

A walk in a vineyards watching the grapes rippen in the sun then drinking the sweet wine in the shade.  A Tuscany lunch of meats cheese and fruit watching the mountains glow in the sun would be memorable. I am sure I would be booking my next Villa holiday before I went home.

Visiting the historic building and meeting the people who live here would be  a highlight of my holiday. II Monte farmhouse looks like a perfect place to appreciate Tuscany and the views of Florence in the distance would be romantic.  

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Getting the Light Right

close up zoom
St Marys church Hemel Hempstead

Practice run for trying to get the light right with the new camera.

Flower garden Gadbridge Park

Haven`t managed to get this right using a manual setting so will go back to the auto and try again.

Flower garden Auto setting

Time for something that moves now 

Quite like this one and its a manual setting

bit dark this one but I am managing ducks and geese ha


The fountain looks really refreshing as its so hot today. I was trying to frame the shot to avoid the bus on the right.  The camera was on auto setting for this and I am struggling to get the light right on manual. will learn its early days.


That`s my practice photos for the day the only ones I am prepared to share anyway. If you would like to see my other blog it is at 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Patient Fisherman

Heron stands waiting for his dinner
I was trying out my new camera today in St Albans park and luckily for me this beautiful Heron was fishing for his dinner.  He was a still as stone which was great for me trying to get a picture as first I had to tie Archie`s (the dog) lead to a bench.

St Albans Cathedral Roof top

The zoom on the camera works well then as I was quite far away from the Cathedral.

St Albans Park

This is where I was standing when I used the zoom to get the photo above of the rooftops. I am not impressed yet with the sharpness of colour in the photos but that is probably me not knowing the best way to use the camera.

                                              I am getting away from this swan he is bigger than me.

I like this photo the geese is trying to escape the swan after just eating some of the bread the swan had earmarked for himself.

  What have you got in that bag bread I hope.

The detail is much better with this camera and I am happy with this close up shot of the duck. I now know how to zoom and how to get a close up shot.  Just need to learn the millions of other things. 

Still Waiting

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Summer Day in the Country

A pretty  butterfly
 More butterflies land on the lavender bush

As I live in a town it is a joy to sit in a country garden and watch the butterflies flutter around the plants and flowers.

I was surprised that one large lavender plant attracted four different kinds of butterflies as well as bees in the few hours I watched.  It has been a beautiful day here in North Wales today and it seems we are not the only ones desperate for some sun.

A corner full of colour

You can see the bee behind the butterfly

A pair of bees enjoyed the lavender and other flowers in the garden.

Lavender bush


A close up of some colourful pansies in their pots

Then a walk down the lane and some pretty wild flower sit in the dwindling sunshine.


Hedge Wildflowers

These pretty wildflowers are just beginning to close

Then the sun sinks down to my left

A walk in the lane

My wish list has changed after today I am now coverting a better camera and a pair of decent wellies for when the sun is not kind. A pair of binoculars and a decent knowledge of wildflowers.  In the meantime I will watch the Olympics but look forward to another walk in the countryside tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Five Colours Competition

Mytravelsupermarket are running a competition with some great prizes details on link .

The colours that need to be shown in pictures are Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red. My photos are below so I am hoping they are good enough to win myself something nice. Do you fancy a try as the overall winner will win £2,000  now wouldn`t that be nice. I would be off to Florence as I would really like to go there.

I have chosen five photos from holidays in the uk which I have really enjoyed. The skydiving in Cumbria was definitely a one off I was the one taking the photo from the plane not the person skydiving. That was my son I would need to be thrown out of the plane as I am just not brave enough to jump.  

Blue -Skydiving


Green - Bernard Shaw's Garden

Green  Bernard Shaw`s Corner which is now owned by the National Trust. I spent a lovely few hours here  wandering through the lovely garden. I saw the Oscar awarded to Shaw for his contribution to Literature which sits in his office at the house.  

Southwark Cathedral London
YELLOW the lights in Southwark Cathedral shine over the flags and light one of the beautiful arched windows. I visited Southwark on a recent trip to London to see some of the Olympics. I watched Beach Vollyball at Horseguards Parade and then went to see this lovely Cathedral.  

White - Wimbledon is so exciting and the buzz on Murray's Mount is fun and special. This photo shows the magnificent roof over centre court. The sun decided to grace the courts when we were there so we didn`t see the roof closed. We did see some amazing tennis from Serena William and had a wonderful day. 

Wimbledon Centre Court

Piccadilly Circus

Red -  London at night I love London it is such an amazing city and the lights of Piccadilly Circus strike a comanding pose against the dark night sky. This photo was taken when we went to see the musical Rock of Ages recently.

The hard part with this competition is to get five other blogs to recommend  the competition to.  You also need to tweet or say on facebook which blogs you have recommended but maybe your friends would love to enter to. 

Blogs recommended:

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Easy Strawberry Sponge Cakes

Strawberry Sponge Cakes

These are ideal for those times when guests are on their way. Fabulous with cream teas and they look very tempting.

I used a sponge mix to make 12 muffin size cakes because I am not very good at mixing butter and sugar. I don`t always get light cakes if I make the sponge myself.

When cold I cut the cakes across the middle

add a thin layer of strawberry Jam and some clotted or whipped cream (I used whipped cream)  place top of cake back on over the cream.
add clotted or
whipped double cream to the top

 add sliced strawberries and any other small fruit like blueberries if liked.

Now go and impress the guests.

Three Cheese and Tomato Salad

Easy 3 cheese and tomato salad.

"I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas!"


I often make this easy salad and serve it with olive bread. It can be a starter or a tasty lunch.

Ingredients - Serves Two

Rocket Salad leaves 1/2 packet
8 vine tomatoes
1 packet  drained Mozzarella  cheese
Parmesan cheese freshly grated
Brie (with chilli flavour if liked)
olive oil and basmati vinegar for dressing
I also add some pesto

Serve With Olive Bread and Green Olives


Divide washed rocket leaves between two plates
slice Mozzarella cheese and add to plates
slice brie and add to plates
slice vine tomatoes and stack over the cheese
add grated Parmesan
make salad dressing using olive oil and vinegar add to salad or leave in small dish on the table.

Serve with black peppers, olives and crusty or Olive bread.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Courtesan`s Lover - A Review

The Courtesan`s Lover
Gabrielle Kimm
ISBN 978-0-7515-4455-8
published in 2011 by Shere Books

Set in Naples Italy in 1564 the beautiful courtesan Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, wears her silks, covers her bruises and believes power lies in the bedchamber.  Modesto her friend, pimp and guardian has himself found a friend after his traumatic childhood. He was castrated so that his singing voice would remain pure.

Keeping her family of twin nine year old daughters in a second house Francesca plays the duel role of doting mother and expensive whore. Safety for her and her family is a castle built on sand  as danger lies in the people she meets. Carlo the man who has paid for his younger brother to be entertained by Francesca begins to feel cheated.

The web becomes tighter as Luca, Carlos` father falls in love with Francesca believing her to be a respectable widow. Carlo decides to steal and sell the children. does he succeed? Will the diaries that Francesca has kept help save Carlo from death and will she use them to do so.  Will Luca forgive her history and love her anyway? What becomes of Modesto and what of the gentle brother of Carlo who`s first taste of love was with Francesca.

This book is well written and well researched. You do want to know what becomes of the children and Francesca and the story is spun in a captivating way.

About the Author

This book is Gabrielles` second novel her first is `His Last Duchess` she is an English Teacher.

 Reason For Rhyme    
by Anthony Reid

This is a new book by a new author.

Pinterest book board

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Keyboard Calls

I have been busy reading blog posts the past week. There are so many and most are very interesting, I like Vintage cobwebs as she reviews and collects old childrens books as well as many other things. Goodreads are good but so are all the individual blogs and book shops.  I studied Criminal Justice at Uni and thought I had seen enough of acedemic books but I have been engrossed in The Pendle Witches trials from 16 C. Libraries are my stomping ground and I would like nothing more than to spend a year in the British Library.
I am working on my collection of short stories  about prisons  and need to stop getting sidetracked. I visited an old former prison in Dublin recently and you can almost hear the rope swing. Anyone with any interesting anadotes on spooky prisons I would love to hear them.   

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Reason For Rhyme

This is an entertaining and thought provoking read, a collection of over 100 poems from a new author. Anthony undoubtedly had his own unique style which consistently bring a nice combination of alliteration and rhyming couplets to the forefront without sacrificing depth and meaning – in fact many of his pieces carry very profound and positive messages. There are also quirky, humorous poems and other light-hearted offerings scattered throughout helping to set a nice pace that keeps you turning the pages. Overall the book is more an account of one mans insights into the world he seems to find himself at odds with, though, perhaps ironically, they invariably end up conveying sentiments that I think many of us share. With subjects such as love, loneliness, politics, family, work and faith – the book gives good variety whilst managing to maintain a continuity in style & technique. If you're seeking a breath of poetic ‘fresh air’ in the shape of a great book then this is for you.  Amazon

See link below

Reason For Rhyme This book will make you think, laugh and cry Anthony is a gifted writer. My particular favourite is `To Your Name`  I have copied an extract below.

`We`re given feet, so we may stride,
On concrete streets or mountain sides,
They`ll let you creep or stamp aloud
They`ll help you keep up with the crowd
Your foundations, the first to grow .....
Be grateful for those working feet.

The first 15 pages of ` Reason for Rhyme` can be read free by clicking on the link above and going to the review section. price £6.99 available on amazon.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Aleph by Paulo Coelho

by Paulo Coelho
published by Harper
ISBN 978-0-00-743552-4

In an extremely personal novel  bestselling author Paulo Coelho sets of on a journey of self discovery. From meeting readers in Africa crossing Europe and Asia he takes the Trans-Siberian Railway.
He is searching to find himself and renew his passion for life and his dwindling energy. He meets Hilal a gifted violinist who insists on following him on his train journey. She reminds me of a groupie awed by the world famous author, but in Paulo world she is someone he loved five hundred years before.                          
I like the idea of the train journey to discover more about yourself  though the idea that time does not run in a straight line has always been based on perception.  That Paulo feels the need to be someone powerful though remorseful in his former life is disappointing.  He clearly feels he is not taking advantage of Halal someone so besotted with him it is hard to agree with his view. The other people on the journey play a small part except Yao who comes in as the calming force when tensions run high.

This is a story of religion, cruelty, love and egos it is hard to tell with Paulo whether he is creating a  story, trying to write a self help book,  a spiritual guide book or a diary. I didn`t like this book but others my find it truly inspiring. For me I have worked too long with young people with mental health problems who say very similar things to Paulo. They struggle with reality, other worlds and different dimensions and are lost in the enormity of it all. The difference is they do not have Paulo`s credentials.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Body in the Thames - Review

The Body in the Thames - by Susanna Gregory
ISBN No. 978-0-7515-4183-0
Published by Sphere London

I have just finished reading this book and it is the first I have read from Susanna Gregory. The book is part of several from her Thomas Chaloner Adventure books. You do not have to have read any of the others in the series as the book works well standing alone. 
The setting is London in the hot summer of 1664, temperatures are also rising as England and the Netherlands simmer between war and peace.
Men from both sides battle with the needs of their country and the ability to acheive these aims.  The plot thickens as bodies float in the Thames or die from mysterious illness. The old Savoy hospital holds the Dutch delegation and becomes a virtual prison as gangs begin attacking them. Fuelled by the dark violence from the falcon, who no-one knows the identity of, the plot centres on his wish to destroy the peace talks.
Chaloner runs from one clue to the next, while trying to protect his wife and mourn the death of his friends and former brother-in-law. The book is well researched and creates the sense of mystery and tension I am sure the author aimed for. I will be reading some of Susanna`s other books. It is a good book for anyone who enjoys a murder mystery within a historical setting.

About the author
Susanna Gregory is a former police officer who enjoys field work in the polar regions. She lives in Wales with her husband who is also a writer. Susanna has written over
twenty books.

See my Travel Reviews on Christine Reid

Who Done It? on the Langollen Steam Train

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

BUSYDAYS: Winnie the Pooh book by A.A.Milne with colour ill...

BUSYDAYS: Winnie the Pooh book by A.A.Milne with colour ill...: I have just found this beautiful book in a local charity shop. I paid the pricely some of 40p for it how lucky am I.  The dust cover is wor...

Monday, 19 March 2012

BUSYDAYS: Pilgrim`s Progress - printed in 1896

BUSYDAYS: Pilgrim`s Progress - printed in 1896: This is a book I bought myself at a book fair many years ago.  It is one of my favourite books and although it has some water damage it is i...

BUSYDAYS: This photo is from the book `BALLET - First Steps ...

BUSYDAYS: This photo is from the book `BALLET - First Steps ...: This photo is from the book `BALLET - First Steps to First Night - A Three Dimensional Book`  it is by Craig Dodd and Shirley Soar and was ...

Winner Stands Alone book Review

BUSYDAYS: The Winner Stands Alone - book review: Review of Paulo Coelho – THE WINNER STANDS ALONE I have recently finished reading this book and if anyone is thinking of buying it this rev...

The Rice Mother - Review

I read anything and everything and reading has always been a big infuence in my life.  I have just finished reading this book and so it is the first book I will review on this blog.

THE RICE MOTHER  by Rani Manicka   ISBN 0 340 82383 6 published in 2002

The book is set in Malaysia and has at its heart the story of three generations of women who struggle with war, duty, love and lost dreams. Lakshmi is the matriarch who is tricked into a lower marriage than she hoped for, and cannot then accept the humble gentle man she is married to. She struggles with her need to fullfil her own ambitions and pushes her children hard. She hides her beautiful daughter from the invading Japaness, keeps the family feed but creates a cruel household. Her grandaughter falls in love with a handsome ruthless man and though money is now plentiful happiness is still elusive. The book is a rapid torrent of emotions and struggle, intense with the unfairness of war. Lakshmi`s great grandaughter tracks long hidden truths and brings deep buried secrets up to the glare of the sunlight. A book for everyone who likes an interesting story wovern with culture and history.