Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

PO cruise ship azura Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

Back in May this year I was given the opportunity to take my family onboard the P&O cruise ship Azura for a mini break to Bruges.
Azura is billed as a family-friendly ship (alongside Aurora, Oceana and Ventura) and, as one of the larger ships in the family, holds 3,100 passengers.

So what can you expect from the Azura? Well, let me take you on a little tour!

PO azura Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

First of all, a little background.
We boarded the ship at the Ocean Cruise Terminal at Southampton, which is lovely and bright and well run to ensure you’re not left sitting around for too long.
Embarking was very slick and easy and in no time we were onboard and having an explore.

And certainly when we were onboard, the atmosphere was really family friendly – many older passengers chatted to my two in the lifts, at the restaurants and around the pools, curious to know what they were enjoying most, which they really liked.

azura state room Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura asleep in azura state room Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

Our superior deluxe stateroom was comfortable and easily big enough for a family of four, with a bathroom, bedroom and sitting area which leads out onto the balcony.
The walk-in wardrobe offers plenty of space for clothes (we found it best that you store your suitcases under the roomy double bed)
There was also a comfortable sofa bed for the children, two TVs (one facing the bed, one facing the sofa bed) and a pair of binoculars which is a nice touch!

azura stateroom balcony Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

So, what can you expect on this P&O cruise?

A tour of P&O cruise ship Azura

KIDS CLUB
Sat at the top of the ship, right at the back, this is one of the most important areas when you’re travelling with youngsters.

azura kids club Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura azura kids club air hockey Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura azura younger kids club Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura My kids usually hate kids clubs as they’re quite shy and hate the thought of entering a room full of other kids on their own.
But we went along to register and have a look around and we couldn’t drag them out!
The Reef kids’  clubs are divided up into four different age ranges – mine being in the 5 to 8 and the 9-12 rooms.
At first Mia really didn’t like the idea of being in a different room to her brother, but the ship are strict in enforcing this and told her she would be fine. And, of course, she was.

Luckily for us, on our first evening we me another couple with four kids, all of a similar age, and that was it, we pretty much didn’t see the children for much of the days at sea as they took themselves off playing various sports, watching movies, crafting, exploring, hanging out.

The programmes are busy and extensive. Even teenagers are catered for really well.
There are PlayStations in the older rooms although the staff do monitor their usage and encourage the kids to turn them off and join in with other activities. And, as Dan could check himself in and out he spent a lot of time there and on the sports deck.
In Mia’s room, late night movies were watched on beanbags, under blankets which they absolutely loved! She had to be signed in and out by either myself or her dad, but she was really happy there.

THE ATRIUM
The heart of Azura, it’s set over three floors and features a cafe, an art gallery, library, bookshop and lots of shopping. There is also the chance to learn a spot of ballroom dancing at the foot of the glass staircase on the dance floor.

Screen Shot 2014 10 27 at 23.46.04 Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

azura stairs Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura It’s where the photographs are mainly taken, the glitzy stairs are found and you can even get a mean hot chocolate.

Not so glitzy, but no less important, you will also find the information desk at this hub.

THE RESTAURANTS
We found dinner times easy and stress-free and the staff are very attentive to young diners.

azura buffet restaurant Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura P&O is renowned for it’s onboard cuisine and there was certainly something to suit everyone – they even have a kids’ buffet between 5 and 6pm every day with dishes more suited to their taste.
Venezia/Verona (above): The main buffet dining areas. It’s huge (split over two sides of the ship) and it’s a bit of a freeforall at busy times, but you can pretty much eat at any time of the day here!
Meridian: The ‘Freedom Dining’ restaurant which means you can turn up whenever you’re ready – no reservations are needed. Which is just perfect when you have children in tow.
Sindhu: One of the ship’s speciality restaurants, this is a fusion restaurant with Indian and British influences. Cover charge is £15 to £25 per person depending on how long you sail for). It is operated under the watchful eye of Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar and the food is extremely tasty rather than spicy.
I can recommend the beautifully presented and flavour-packed Rogan Josh.

azura restaurant Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

Seventeen (above): Our favourite restaurant onboard. The food is stunning and the service is pure theatre. Cover charge: between £28 and £30 per person.
I opted for the melt-in-the-mouth ribeye steak, which was cooked to perfection. And if you chose the flambeed pineapple for dessert, it is prepared at your table and is a sight to behold!

Other restaurants we didn’t try: The Peninsular (elegant silver service), Oriental (silver service).

You should also note, that afternoon tea – traditional crustless sandwiches, cakes, and scones – is available in the self-service restaurant, but if you head to the Peninsular you can get the same fare served by a waiter for a truly British feel.

THE BARS
Planet Bar: Our favourite bar was at the very top of the ship, which has views over the sea as it’s situated right at the back. Also it serves a mean cocktail icon wink Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura
On a clear night the views are just gorgeous.
It also has a floor-to-ceiling audiovisual wall, showcasing spectacular footage from across the world continents which I really liked.
The Glass House: Serves food and wine and has a lovely modern wine bar feel to it. You’re also in the hands of wine expert Olly Smith, with his selection of 32 different wines to choose from.
Manhattan: A New York-inspired lounge where you can sit back and enjoy live music, quizzes or discos. The entertainment centre of the ship.
Malabar: This has a totally different feel to the rest of the ship. Like stepping into an oriental lounge, it’s all gold and luxurious fabrics.
Brodies: Apparently this is a London pub-themed bar and we completely managed to miss it during our time onboard! It is right next to the casino so that could explain it!

ENTERTAINMENT
Playhouse Theatre: This is the home of the ship’s big entertainment itinerary. On our ship the big show was tenor Alfie Boe. The performance I attended was packed and clearly filled with a lot of fans who brought a great atmosphere to the night. And the theatre was most definitely up to handling his huge voice.

The SeaScreen: Is basically an open-air cinema where you can sit around the pool and watch a movie. The movie choices were great (The Lego Movie for example) but if it’s cold no one wants to sit on a sun lounger for 2 hours. However, saying that there are ‘pool blankets’ which are basically fleece sleeping bags you can crawl into and there were loads of people being adventurous and taking advantage of these.

Casino: Everything from roulette to slot machines. For obvious reasons we didn’t spend a lot of time in here!

The Spa: Can you call a spa entertainment? Not sure entirely, but it’s worth noting there is a spa and salon and the Retreat is a luxurious open-air spa terrace, offering the “ultimate in sophisticated pampering”. Clearly we didn’t get the chance to indulge but we wafted by and had a sniff.

THE POOLS
Coral Pool: A great area but honestly it was just too cold for many on our trip. Except my daughter and a handful of kids who were in there ALL THE TIME!

azura pool deck Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura
Terrace bar and pool: Another area at the back of the ship.
The Oasis: An adults-only area with cabanas (for outdoor spa treatments), luxury sun loungers and NO KIDS!

SPORTS
The sports deck on the very top of the ships, plays host to cricket, football, basketball, tennis, golf and anything else you can throw into the mix. Dan and his friends probably managed to have a go at them all!

playing shuffleboard on azura Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura The gym: With a great view overlooking the sea ahead, it has pretty much everything you’d need for a workout. including personal trainers.

EXCURSIONS
Our short break stopped off at the gorgeous medieval town of Bruges and the island of Guernsey.

bruges Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura You can read all about our day out in Bruges here, which was absolutely lovely.
But after a day at sea our next port of call was St Peter Port in Guernsey.

azura view Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura azura tenders Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura
Much to the children’s delight, our ship was too big for the port, so dropped anchor off shore, and we were ferried ashore on board a tender.
Guernsey is really quite small but bursting with interest. And great for photographers!
We wandered around past the very expensive yachts in dock and the old fashioned buses.

Guernsey Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura Guernsey lighthouse Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura guernsey dock Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

Then it was on to our excursion – to be onboard a rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) for a ride around the coast. And what a brilliant adventure it was. We all had to climb into waterproofs and life vests, and then clung on for dear life as skipper Pierre took us on a high-speed tour of the coastline, zipping past Azura, bouncing off the waves, with stop-offs to see breeding birds, points of interest and a colony of grey seals.
A real highlight of our cruise – we all absolutely loved it.

azura rib boat ride Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura guernsey rib boat ride Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura azura at sea Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

TOP TIPS:

  • Take time to get to know your ship and save yourself from spending 20 minutes (yes, yes embarrassing, I know) searching for the kids club at the back of the ship and KEEP stepping out of lifts at the front of the ship.
    I’d totally sussed it by day 4. Dan had it sussed by day 1.
  • Study the layout (you are given a map at check in) – where are the restaurants, kids club, pools, theatre. Also study how to get from from one side of the ship to the other – you can’t do it on every floor! The layout of the ship doesn’t really flow. You can’t go from one end to the other easily; sometimes you have to go down, along and back up again!
  • Decide before boarding to switch off and have a properly relaxing break. Wifi is expensive so if you do buy it, use your time wisely or just switch off. Or wait until you are on land for an excursion and see if you can use free WiFi if you really can’t wait to Tweet a photo!
  • Smoking is allowed around one of the pools – and it reeked. So find out where these areas are if you want to avoid.
  • I’m not sure if it’s a rule all the time, but they didn’t serve juices at lunchtime in the main self service restaurants – just water and tea/coffee – which was a disappointment for the kids.
  • The professional photographs are extortionate. We had one taken on the steps of the Atrium on the black tie evening and upon visiting the photo gallery to view it, discovered it would cost us £17.95 for a 10” print. When you’re in your finery, make sure you ask someone to take your photo for you.
  • The ship was full during our cruise, with 3,100 passengers and more than 400 children. Yet it never felt crowded; just ensure you pick your breakfast times wisely or you’ll have to queue for your sausage and bacon.
  • Check out your daily Horizon magazine, which is left in your room every evening, so that you can find out what is happening on the ship the following day, what films are showing and what events you can join in with.

azura selfie Anatomy of P&O Cruise ship Azura

So what was our verdict?
The Azura is a great ship for this sort of short cruise. We loved the variety of things to do, the different venues to eat in on board and the fact that the children were engaged and enjoying themselves the whole time. It’s a laid-back, stress free bread.

Posted in Family Holiday, Travel, Travel Review | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Photo Gallery 206: Light

apple on a tree The Photo Gallery 206: Light

I have a romantic vision of apple picking. And this isn’t it!
I imagine it to be all Somerset splendour with ladders and baskets and large, juicy apples which are perfectly formed all ready to be harvested.
I imagine the sun on my back (or on the back of the straw hat I’m wearing) and lashings of cider after a day of hard graft.

This is not a true reflection of apple picking.
Or it’s not the version I experienced last weekend.

Dan and I offered to help his Scout group raise money by picking as many apples as they could for the local cider maker.
A Saturday morning helping the community and ensuring that lovely golden drink gets to our fridges.
What could be nicer?
But our Saturday morning consisted of scrumping apples off the leaf-strewn orchard floor – apples no bigger than a plum. Back. Breaking. Work.

There was a silver lining to all of this however. The light was amazing.
As we arrived at 9am, the light hung low around the gnarled branches, barely peeking through the mist which was still clinging to the outskirts of the orchard.
Everything looked otherworldly. Like a mythical creature could burst through the mist at any moment.
This time of year has much to recommend it; the colours, the chill in the air. But the light is something else.
It made this shrivelled old apple on the branch look really quite magical. Mother Nature can do that.
She didn’t product a mythical creature though. Or a glass of cider!

This post is for week 206 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Light.
If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Photo Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement for joining in.
And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.
Please don’t just link dump – this is not that kind of linky.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
And absolutely ANYONE can join in.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on: Pinterest Google + Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

See you over there x



Posted in The Gallery | 12 Comments

What to buy a 9 year old girl for Christmas

 

what to buy a 9 year old girl for christmas What to buy a 9 year old girl for Christmas

On Monday I gave you some ideas for what to buy a 12 year old boy for Christmas.
Because to be honest, I’m struggling myself with my soon-to-be 12 year old.
But I had lots of requests for ideas of what to buy a girl.

I have a 9 year old former tomboy, slowly discovering what it’s like to be a pre-teen.
She doesn’t really ‘do’ girlie – although she’s definitely discovering her hair and different looks with her clothes – and has totally outgrown toys and nick nacks.

So, what to buy a 9 year old girl for Christmas?
Here’s my list of ideas.

  1. Wall sticker, from Icon Wall Stickers, £10.99
    I am mother to a total animal nut, so the thought of a tiger watching over her at night is Mia’s dream come true. These wall stickers are so quick and easy to apply and a great way of changing a room for little cost.
  2. Tin candle from John Lewis, £6
    Every year Santa buys Mia a candle, from him to her. These are brilliant as they come in their own tin – and the smell is wonderful too. Last year she had Fairy Dust.
  3. Exercise books from John Lewis, £6.99 and Vintage style journal from eBay, £14.99
    Mia cannot get enough stationery. Like mother, like daughter. I love these books; the vintage journal is a great ‘grown up’ book for non girlie girls.
  4. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Face Wash from John Lewis, £14.95
    I’m a big believer in looking after your skin from an early age. So just as my mum stopped me using soap at a similar age, I’ll be encouraging Mia to use the natural goodness of Liz Earle on hers.
  5. Insulated mug from Paperchase, £7
    For those weekends on the touchline watching her brother play rugby!
  6. Stationery from Tinc, from £1
    I could fill her Christmas stocking with stationery and Mia would be utterly delighted! I love the things in Tinc; simple, fun and a reasonable price.
  7. Converse from Next, starting at £25
    Cool, comfortable and still robust enough to be able to climb trees in. Almost the perfect kids shoe.
  8. Hair crimpers from Boots, £19.99
    Very retro but great for a quick change of appearance!
  9. Biker jacket from New Look, £27.99
    Grandma bought Mia this very jacket for her birthday and it’s hardly been off since. She looks SO COOL in it and I suspect she feels a million dollars.
  10. Zippy earphones from Tinc, £4.50
    Great stocking filler; Mia listens to music a lot and these are funky and functional.
Posted in Christmas, Mia | 6 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 206

Gallery logo The Photo Gallery: Week 206Hello and welcome to week 206 of The Photo Gallery.

The clocks are due to go back here in the UK at the weekend. I’ve already left notes for myself all around the house so I don’t forget and end up arriving at Dan’s Sunday’s rugby match an hour early.

I actually dislike this time of year when we lose our evenings. It’s dark at 3.30pm and this outdoors family feels a bit trapped, as after school, it’s home, tea and err, that’s it! Normally the kids are out playing, cricket on the green (no matter how cold), tennis up the wall, bike riding round to a friend’s house, skateboarding down the cul de sac.

The weather can do what it likes, get as cold and as wet and as windy as it chooses, but we really do miss the light.
So this week the theme for the Gallery is: Light.

Let’s celebrate it as much as we can!
Then come back on Wednesday and link up your photographs and your posts.

I set up the Photo Gallery back in 2010 because I love photography. And I wanted to give everyone else an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around them.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

See you on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what the The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 2 Comments

The Photo Gallery 205: Talent

playing keyboard The Photo Gallery 205: Talent
learning keyboard The Photo Gallery 205: Talent
keyboard practice The Photo Gallery 205: Talent

There is a new sound in our house. Loud and played at ungodly hours and constant.
I have absolutely no idea whether Mia will be a talented keyboard player. But she’s taken up lessons and she adores it.
One week after starting we were at a car boot sale and she stumbled on an electric keyboard for sale. £15. The owner had emigrated to Australia and her grandmother had offered to sell it for her just to ‘get it out of the way’.
Because, seriously, it is a bit of a monster.

I have never seen Mia so animated. She asked for it’s full history, what books came with it, was it suitable for her age, were all the cables included – and all without me.
The first I knew of it was when she ran back to our car all breathless, wide-eyed and arms flailing, trying to tell me everything she had discovered in one long, unpunctuated sentence.

She ended up buying it with her own money (her brother managed to barter them down to £12) and it has been an eyesore in our house ever since.
But she sits there with that look of total concentration. She congratulates herself with a little smile when she gets the notes right and, my most favourite thing of all, her toes wiggle and flex and intertwine underneath the chair seat when she’s concentrating.

feet The Photo Gallery 205: Talent

I have no idea whether she will be a keyboard great, but I love that she’s trying.
And everyone has to start somewhere, right?

This post is for week 204 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Talent.
If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read here, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement for joining in.
And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
And absolutely ANYONE can join in.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on: Pinterest Google + Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

See you over there x



Posted in Mia, The Gallery | 7 Comments

What to buy a 12 year old boy for Christmas

Christmas gifts for older boys What to buy a 12 year old boy for Christmas

Stop with the eye rolling, you’ve got to start thinking about these things now.
Because, far be it from me to panic you, Christmas is a mere 10 weeks away.

And at nearly 12 Dan is getting harder and harder to buy Christmas presents for. He does love a stocking from Santa under the tree. You know, those little exciting things that will deliver a big surprise. I’m finding it quite difficult to surprise a pre teen!

So, here is my little list to help out incase you’re having the same problem as me. They’re not all stocking fillers obviously, but things I hope will bring a smile to their faces come Christmas morning.
Let me know if there is anything you would add.

  1. Wolverine movie poster from MoviePoster.com, £5.11.
    Perfect for the superhero nerd. They stock a whole range of other posters too so it’s easy to find a good fit.
  2. Red Metal Top Secret Box from Dotcomgiftshop, £19.95.
    I love this, it’s like the boys version of a lockable diary!
  3. Bananagrams from John Lewis, £15.99
    A brilliant/infuriating game for learning words and spellings. Learning while thrashing them *ahem*
  4. Fat Face set from Boots, £10.
    They are definitely getting to ‘that’ age! And with all the sport Dan does, it’s an essential.
  5. Trapper hat from Gap, £7.95
    My dad moved to Canada recently and pretty much lives in a hat like this which Dan covets all the time.
  6. Army Camouflage Face Paint from Dotcomgiftshop, £3.95
    This is definitely the age for running around a forest armed with a Nerf gun and a leaf in your hat for camouflage.
  7. Selection of books from Waterstones, starting at £5.99
    I can’t recommend books highly enough for kids of this age. It has really helped Dan with his school work, vocabulary and sentence structure. It doesn’t matter what they read as long as there is variety.
  8. Lava Lamp from the Discovery Store, £14.99
    It was cool in the seventies and it’s cool again now! A night light with pizzazz.
  9. Wallet from SuperDry, £14.99
    It’s all about the labels these days. Thankfully Dan isn’t the slightest bit bothered but this wallet is grown up and essential for all that pocket money he earns by doing his chores *ahem*.
  10. Desk Globe from Amazon, £16.99
    A great way to help them learn about the world we live in. Dan has a world map on his wall and whenever we hear a story about a country in the news, we look it up.
Posted in Christmas, Dan, Lists | 10 Comments

Mary Berry Scones

Mary Berrys Scone Recipe Mary Berry Scones

If there is one thing my 11 year old loves when he gets in from school, it’s slightly warm scones with lashings of real butter and jam.
His eyes light up and he does that ‘mmmmm’ which, let’s be honest, makes me feel like the best mum in the world!
It’s the little things.

I know many people stress about the size of their scones and how much they’ve risen, but honestly, for me it’s all about the taste.
These Mary Berry scones are my favourite. So very simple, few ingredients and you can even freeze them if you can’t manage to eat them all icon wink Mary Berry Scones

One thing you need to know is that the less you handle the dough the better. Sticky is good. It’s hard to work with but it will pay dividends and rise for you.
So, slightly tacky and sticking to your fingers and you get a spot on scone!

It’s also best you eat them on the day they’re made. For a REAL treat spread with real butter, strawberry jam, cream and sliced strawberries. Mmmmmmm

mary berry scones1 Mary Berry Scones

mary berry scone recipe Mary Berry Scones

Ingredients
450g self raising flour
2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
75g cold butter
50g caster sugar
2 eggs
about 225ml milk

Method
1. Lightly grease two baking trays and pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C.

2. Put the flour, baking powder and butter into a bowl and rub with your fingers to make a breadcrumb texture. It’s best you don’t try to soften the butter in the microwave as too warm butter can lead to heavier scones I’ve found.

scones rubbing in method Mary Berry Scones

3. Stir in the sugar.

4. Beat the eggs together and then make up to 300ml with the milk. Put about two tablespoons to one side to use for glazing the scones later.

5. Gradually add the egg/milk mix to the dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.
It will seem quite sticky, but a slightly ‘wet’ dough which sticks to your fingers will rise better when cooked.

6. Turn the dough out on to a slightly floured surface and either flatten it out with the heel of your hands or use a rolling pin to get it to a thickness of about 2cm (1 inch). To be honest, I’ve tried both and find using my hands much better because it just sticks to the rolling pin and drives you slightly mad! Handle the dough as little as you can, it just needs to be pulled together, you don’t need to knead!

mary berry scones egg wash Mary Berry Scones scones egg wash Mary Berry Scones

7. Using a 5cm cutter, stamp out your scones in the dough (don’t twist as this can stunt the rise) and lift them out to place on the greased baking tray, quite close together.
Gather the left over dough together again and repeat until all the dough is used up.

8. Glaze each one with the egg/milk mixture.

9. Bake for 10-15 minutes near the top of the oven or until they are well risen and golden.
Cool on a wire rack and cover with a clean tea fowl to keep them moist.

These are best served a fresh as possible, cut in half and spread generously with jam and a big blob of cream.
You can also freeze any you don’t use as soon as they are completely cooled and thaw at room temperature when you need them again.

mary berry scones recipe Mary Berry Scones

Taken from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. 

 

Posted in Recipes | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Photo Gallery: Week 205

Gallery logo The Photo Gallery: Week 205Hello and welcome to week 205 of The Photo Gallery.

I have quite a challenge for you this week; the next Gallery theme is: Talent.

We all have one be it sport, music, cookery, creative.
But here’s the thing; we usually don’t like to boast. So here is my invitation to you to boast. Boast about yourself, your kids, your parents, your friends.
Show us their talents.
Then come back on Wednesday and link up.

I set up the Photo Gallery back in 2010 because I love photography. And I wanted to give everyone else an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around them.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

See you on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here and want to find out what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter visit here.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to Sticky Fingers and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 1 Comment

Creating a personalised photography gift for Christmas

A couple of years ago I was totally stuck for a Christmas present for my inlaws.
I mean totally stuck. Gnawing on my knuckles, biting my bottom lip, nag nag nagging the husband for an idea ANY idea of what to get them.
That kind of stuck.

And then I had a brainwave. Or actually I stumbled on Pinterest and tapped into one of the brainwaves on there.
I made a unique photo gift.
The children and I came up with a very simple prop, had a good giggle one afternoon staging the photographs and this is what we came up with.
You can see the whole tutorial for this personalised photography gift here.
It went down an absolute storm.

homemade photography gifts Creating a personalised photography gift for Christmas

This year the children are a few years old and I’m looking at ways of updating this and sending something a little different.
I’ve once again been trawling through Pinterest for ideas and inspiration for photographs to take for the project.
And there are some gorgeous ideas – from how to take portraits and family shots, to how to think a little bit differently for a more unique photograph.
Have a look at my Pinterest board here with some ideas.

Follow Tara Cain’s board Photography inspiration on Pinterest.

Of course, once you have your photograph you will need something to frame it with.
These lovely frames from Personalised Gifts Shop offer you the opportunity to have your own words added, which is a lovely idea for grandparents, friends or relatives.

personalised christmas gifts Creating a personalised photography gift for Christmas

The words at the top of the frame are set, but you can have whatever you want written at the bottom; it’s such a lovely way to send something really personal that shows you’ve put a lot of thought into a gift this Christmas.
There are a whole host of different frames available (I really like the big chunky oak ones) – visit the website for more information or further details on all of the styles available.
There is also a whole host of other personalised gifts for sale on the site, from stationary and pens to jewellery, sweets and chocolate and kitchenware.

This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Personalised Gifts Shop

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The Gallery 204: Autumn

acer The Gallery 204: Autumn

Every year it amazes me that nature can produce such a vivid display of colour in my garden.
The season when things are slowly withdrawing, shedding and sinking back into the soil, is also the season when this bush does a virtual “Tah Dah” in the most dramatic fashion and almost glows red.

Like a performer from the Moulin Rouge, she hoists up her skirts, puts her face to the sky and shows off.
An Acer Bloodgood: Everyone should have one in their garden to bring some autumnal cheer.

This post is for week 204 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Autumn.
If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read here, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement for joining in.
And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
And absolutely ANYONE can join in.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on: Pinterest Google + Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

See you over there x



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