Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas from my dying computer

Yeah, my computer is on its last legs. Well, the hard-drive is, anyway. I'm actually a little amazed that it's even on at the moment, because at one point this afternoon, that looked doubtful. Since we were already talking about upgrading, it looks as though some new laptops are on the cards as Graeme, being a boy, can't possibly get me a new computer without getting one himself (though, to be fair, his is older than mine). All that said, this computer may go to sleep tonight and never wake up, which won't bother me too much now that I've made sure I have a backup of everything. But it will mean that I'll have to steal time on Graeme's computer if I want to be online and since he's on holidays, that may not happen too often.

So, I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I'll see ya when I see ya, with a report of our first ever Christmas without family...

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Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Results Are In...

OK, so I had my little visit to Medical Obstetrics today and got the results from all my tests.
My blood pressure is fine. The 24 hour annoyance was worth it.
The ultrasound was clear, except the tiny kidney stone and an even tinier cyst, that she said will only be an issue if my body decides to pass the stone.
I don't have any of the crazy diseases they tested me for. My liver function has improved, but is still not in the clear, so I did have to have another blood test to check it again. If all is well with this one, I get to go back to just being on the normal antenatal routine - yay!

In other news, I am officially not working at the moment. With morning sickness and my lack of energy and all, I haven't actually done any work since we got back from Australia (yeah, 2 months ago) but it was still causing me unnecessary stress worrying about my lack of income, as well as having to deal with making myself unavailable and handle/dodge phone calls from recruitment consultants trying to get me to do work. So with Graeme's support I made the decision to officially take a break, with no pressure on when I have to go back (if at all). I have already been more productive - I might even get my Christmas cards sent out today, although since most of them are headed to Australia, I'm probably already too late... oh well.

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Tuesday, 4 December 2007

A week of hospital visits

OK, as a girl who grew up in Australia, that title is even a little scary to me, so just a reminder that basically all my care is being provided through the hospital, well, technically hospitals, since the women's/maternity one is a separate entity to the main hospital. Anyway, as I said in my last post, last week I made 2 visits to the ECG department to collect and then return the blood pressure monitor. Then on Thursday I returned to the Ante Natal Clinic to find out what was up. Turns out some of my initial blood tests had come back with less than desirable results, especially in regards to my liver - nothing major was discovered, but it was enough that I needed to get a heap more blood tests. The doctor assured me that it was probably all related to the pregnancy, but that didn't stop me having to fill another 10 or so vials of blood. Today I got to go to the Imaging department of the main hospital to get an Ultrasound on my upper abdomen. The technician said that my liver and everything else looked fine, the only thing she found was a tiny kidney stone in my right kidney which she said wasn't a cause for any concern.

Friday next week, I get to go to the Medical Obstetric Unit and meet with my hospital doctor and go through the results of all of those tests. I am hopeful (I want to say confident, but that wouldn't be entirely true) that everything will be fine and I can go back to being a regular patient that doesn't need to go in again until 20ish weeks.

Other than that, my week was spent recovering from the trip - turns out it took a lot out of me energy-wise. I have started putting some photos up on my flickr, but there aren't many there yet and they are from the last few days, since I ended up doing it in reverse chronological order. I know I still owe a write-up on the trip, it is still coming, just bear with me.

If you want something interesting to read, go over and check out my sister's blog - she has just arrived in Canada to work in a ski resort and is actually updating pretty regularly (and now you'll have to keep it up, ok Beth? :D) She even went to the first Spice Girls concert...

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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Stupid Blood Pressure

As I write this, I am anticipating the moment when I have to stop typing and move my left arm so that my blood pressure can be read as accurately as possible. Today I had the pleasure of going to the hospital and getting a blood pressure monitoring device (for which I can't remember the proper name and can't be bothered looking up) attached to my upper arm. It's like a regular blood pressure arm band, but attached to a little box that hangs in a case around my neck and records my blood pressure regularly. Meaning every 20 minutes (30 minutes in the evening and hourly over night) the thing makes a loud beep before blowing itself up and slowly releasing the pressure. It squeezes very tight and takes a lot longer than the doctor does to release the pressure. I just hope they get enough accurate readings that they don't have to do the whole thing over again, as the nurse today said could be the case...
I have to take it back tomorrow. Also tomorrow I have to ring a different part of the hospital and ask why exactly they want me to get more blood tests and whether I can move the appointment (I came home to a letter and a phone message saying I needed to come and get them, but without any specific information about why, which is quite annoying/stressful/worrying news for someone who is quite good at imagining the worst).

Anyway, I know you're probably all more looking forward to photos and info from our trip than boring rants about the state of my health, but I have to write this stuff down as it's happening - I've already written (most of) our travel journal, I just have to go through and type some of it up. Hopefully tomorrow, ok?

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Monday, 26 November 2007

Back, but exhausted

We're back from our trip to Italy and Austria. We had a great time but are both really tired - 12 days with contiki means early mornings, late nights and lots of stuff going on every day, but it was worth it.

I wish I could say more, but nothing is coming out of my brain the way it should. There should be plenty of updating over the next week or so, on our website and flickr as well as here. I think it might be time for bed.....

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Friday, 9 November 2007

Sorry... but I bring news

I'm sorry - I promised an update and I haven't done one. Really though, there hasn't been much to tell until today. I have pretty much spent every weekday at home, we've done a couple of weekends away (see our website) which have been good but made me even more buggered for the days that followed. I haven't worked because when you are throwing up at least once pretty much every day and feeling tired and nauseous the rest of the time, supply teaching seems like the most unappealing thing in the entire world.

Today though, we went for our first visit to the Ante-Natal Clinic and got to see our baby for the first time (no pictures though, because it really wasn't that exciting to look at, especially as a still photo - I promise I'll get one when we go for a later scan). If you want to read the play-by-play of that (and I know some of you do, which is why I'm going to write it) then read on. Otherwise, know that we have some serious travelling to do over the next couple of weeks, so there won't be any updates happening, and feel free to ignore the rest.

This is probably way more detailed than I would usually bother with, but I know a couple of you are keen to know about differences between having a baby in Australia and having one in England. Having not experienced the former, I'll tell you all about the latter and you can make your own comparisons, ok?

So as soon as we got home from Australia, I rang and made an appointment with my GP. A few days later I went in and saw her (weird thing about the whole GP thing - under the NHS you have to be registered with a specific GP, but the one we're registered with is actually 2 doctors, you just see whichever of them is working that day, basically) and told her I was pregnant. She just took my word for it and started filling out paperwork, one of the most important elements of which was the hospital I wanted to receive my care through.

A week or so later I got a letter from the hospital with a date and time for my first appointment. Graeme ummed and aahhed about coming with me, mainly because they warned it could take over 3 hours for the appointment and he wasn't sure he wanted to take time off work, also because we weren't really sure if it would be worth his time. In the end he decided he'd come and disappear if it all seemed like he shouldn't be there and it turned out most of the other women who were there for the same first appointment dealy had their partners there too. So we got there quite early, due mainly to the fact that we had left more time than necessary to get there via the two buses (parking at the hospital is pretty much not an option) since we had to do so in peak hour. We sat in the waiting room, something that became quite a theme for the day :)

First up we had a consultation with a midwife. It started with a weigh-in (not as high as I thought, in fact I think the morning sickness has made me lose some weight [I know that's not good - I really am trying to eat well]) and then she went through like a 20 page booklet, which was contained in my already massive patient file, asking questions, filling in answers - my medical history, family medical history, my pregnancy so far. She also tested a urine sample for proteins and took my blood pressure. Two things arose that had to be further followed up. My blood pressure was slightly high and had also been so when I'd seen the doctor 5 weeks ago - not like worryingly high, but just sitting slightly above normal, apparently (not that I really "get" the whole blood pressure measuring thing, I guess I should do some reading and sort that). Also, the fact that I told her about mum's blood clots last year and that I couldn't remember what cause, if any, they'd found for them, made her decide to add a visit with the doctor into my schedule for the day.

Next up (well, after sitting in a waiting room again) came the worst and best bit of the day - the ultrasound. First thing that was weird was that I expected it to be really cold and it was actually warm - like bordering on too warm. The next couple of minutes totally sucked - she couldn't see anything. She started asking questions like "Did you confirm this pregnancy with a blood test or urine test?", "How long ago was that?", "You definitely haven't had any bleeding?". I was right on the edge of a freak-out when she found it - apparently my bladder wasn't very full and my uterus was tipped back quite far, or something. In fact it was so bad that she couldn't get a decent look at it, even though she was pushing into my belly HARD. At that point she suggested an internal ultrasound, which at first sounded kind of scary, but was really no big deal. We saw and heard the heartbeat, confirmed there is indeed one baby with one head and two arms and two legs. It definitely made it all very real and was quite a relief after that moment of thinking something was really wrong. At this point, an adjustment was made to my due date based on the size of the baby, so it's now June 2, which puts me at like 10 weeks, 4 days instead of 11 weeks, 2 days (sorry Sharon - I think the thing I sent you was WAY off because I stupidly relied on a calculator rather than my own brain). I really feel like they'll adjust it back a bit when I go for my next scan, since I know my dates are right, but that won't be for awhile and anyway, I'd rather have a later due date than an early one because it'll be longer before they start pressuring for induction and stuff if the baby's overdue. We made an appointment for the next scan and then continued on with the step-by-step that the midwife laid out for us.

So next we went back to reception and handed over the big patient folder we were lugging around, because we had to see the doctor. [The next step for everyone else at this point was to join the queue for the blood testing, but we got the extra step thrown in] The doctor was great and the awesome thing is that she's my assigned hospital doctor, so anytime I need to see one when I'm there, it'll be the same woman. Also, I had an appointment in a couple of weeks at the Obstetric Medical Unit set up by my GP because of the whole blood pressure thing and this doctor also works there, so she was able to do what that appointment would've been anyway. We chatted about the fact that I've never had anyone say something bad about my blood pressure before and she explained a bunch of options and possible scenarios. Crazy thing is when she took my blood pressure herself, it was perfectly normal, so she decided the best course of action would be to get this 24 hour blood pressure monitoring thing that you wear over a normal day and it regularly records your blood pressure, to help work out why/how/when it's changing. She also ordered a couple extra blood tests to be done because of the clotting thing - thanks Mum.

While we went and joined the queue for the blood testing (this one was a take a number one, like at the deli counter in a supermarket) the doctor sorted out a form for the monitoring request. By this time we were pretty sick of sitting in waiting rooms/areas so Graeme went and got a drink while I waited. When my number was called, I got the privilege of filling up 5 vials of blood for various tests (could've been more if I'd chosen to have the one that tests for risk of Downs Syndrome). Of course, as I left, there was basically no wait…

Back to reception (not that far, everything was close together) to drop off my folder and make my next midwife appointment (which they make for the same day as the scan) and I was done. Well, I would've been, if I didn't have to find my way around the main hospital to find the ECG department and sort out a date to get this 24hour monitoring thing. That's not happening until we get back from Italy in a couple of weeks, though.

So yeah, a nice long description of my day for those of you who were interested. Apologies to anyone who got suckered into reading this because it appeared on your blog reader or something - I did warn you. Questions, comments, comparisons, USEFUL suggestions welcome :)

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Thursday, 25 October 2007

quick note

(cut and paste direct from the comment I left on Sharon's blog because I lack the energy or imagination to do anything more)

Sorry I'm not providing any interesting reading - we're still on the slowest dial-up I've used since the mid-90s, which is only worth paying for in the evenings and I quickly tire of it. Plus, I've been hit by morning sickness pretty bad - good in that it supposedly means my body is doing all the things it's supposed to, bad in that I've spent the majority of time since we moved either asleep or curled up on the couch in a daze.

Broadband's supposed to be connected by the weekend and I'll make an effort to update when it does.

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Saturday, 6 October 2007

Have Been, Am and Will Be

Have Been:

To and from Australia. Went to a birthday party, a couple of beautiful weddings, a wildlife park (with some of the international wedding guests) and some favourite shopping centres. Had dinners and lunches with lots of different friends, some of whom we hadn't seen in ages. Got to meet my sister's boyfriend. Had an awesome going back (as opposed to away) party on the Saturday before we left. Took a LOT of photos.

Getting cool mail, even when I was 10,000 miles from my usual postal address. See here for pictures (too lazy to take my own). Thanks Leonie.

Feeling nauseous. Morning sickness without the vomiting (yet), but lasting a big chunk of the day. Could also be tied in to jet lag and the flu that Graeme bought home on his first day of commuting on the Underground again. Oh yeah, I guess I should tell those of you who only interact with me on the internet that I am pregnant, especially because this is where all my friends and family from back home are expecting updates. Sorry it wasn't a more exciting/dramatic post :D

Going to the doctor. My official due date is May 27. All we did was fill out paperwork (typical England). I had to pick which hospital I wanted to have the baby already. The same place will provide all my antenatal care and stuff. My first choice is local, the care is provided by a team of midwives, and it was recommended by the girl upstairs who had her little boy while we were away. I'll find out if I actually got my first choice soon and then I'll do a more detailed post for those who are interested.


Right in the middle of moving house (literally - we're having a break to eat lunch and watch the Australia V England Rugby World Cup game). The place is a mess, but it is much easier to move when you don't have to take the furniture.

Excited about the new house. It's even better than I remember - light, spacious, much better suited to our living style - and our landlords are great.

Will Be:

Without proper internet for who knows how long. We currently have cable, but the new place isn't in the cabled region, so we're going to have to get DSL or something and that will take a couple of weeks, apparently. We will probably have some basic dial-up, but I won't be online much because I'm cheap.

Finally sorting through my photos from Australia. Hopefully the lack of internet will make my time more productive. I will post here if I manage to upload some of them.

Planning a trip to Italy, we think. It's one of the places we really want to go sans-kid, especially because we're pretty sure we're going to do a contiki tour, so we gotta go soon.

Sorting myself out to get some days teaching - it'll probably be horrible, but I need to make some money.

Enjoying the autumn colours.

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Monday, 17 September 2007

OK, here's one...

Flying Ruff
Flying Ruff
(Ruff is the dog's name, but I'm not sure if that is how I should spell it)

I can't believe I caught this - the boys were throwing the dog in the air and telling me to take a photo of it. I laughed out loud when I saw this image on my preview screen, so of course, all the kids wanted to see it too. I have heaps of great shots of the kids from yesterday (all of whom I have known since they were born, the eldest now 10!, and 2 of whom were part of our wedding party) but I'm not sure how their parents feel about me plastering them on the internet, so I better check that first...

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Live from Sydney for 2 weeks only

We're here. In Sydney! I had kind of hesitated about giving too much info about what we were doing and when, mainly because I had this paranoia about some random person finding this and stalking me to work out where I live, knowing that our place in London is now empty, but then I realised that we brought all the important stuff with us anyway, we have insurance if they flog our tv and it would hardly go unnoticed anyway if someone did try to break in because we have plenty of neighbours around at all times of the day - yeah, ok, I'm weird.

Anyway, we flew out of Heathrow on Thursday night and after 23 LOOOOOONG hours, we were in Sydney airport. We'll be here for 2 more weeks and have a couple of weddings to attend and a heap of people to catch up with. We've already been to a 40th birthday party, even :) Our calendar is quickly filling up, so if there's anyone reading this who is around Sydney and wants to catch up, let me know asap. Expect lots of photos - I took about 170 at the party yesterday... (but I haven't done anything with them yet, so this post is photo free)

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Tuesday, 11 September 2007


I am going through my many thousands of digital photos, deleting the bad and embarrassing ones so that I can burn a back-up that can be left with my parents in Australia and which I will be happy for people to look at.

Inspired by the photos I am looking through, which date back to July 2004, here is a random list of things I miss about home:

Teaching kids who are a joy to teach, even when they're being a pain in the butt, alongside other teachers that love their students and their jobs. Getting the chance to celebrate with them when they reach milestones, like finishing year 10.

Hanging out with a group of awesome girls and women once a week.

Panthers home games - hey, we haven't even been to the new ground yet...

Going to loud concerts, both as a member of the audience and working front of house.

Camps (not the tent kind).

Being around for the big (and little) events in the lives of friends and family.

Sooty and Misty (they're mine and Graeme's family dogs, respectively)

Other things I'm noticing:

The camera upgrade in 2005 greatly increased the number of photos I was taking.

My photography skills have definitely improved - good in that every new folder has more and more good photos in it; bad in that I am struggling to decide where to draw the line in terms of what to keep.

I have to keep telling myself not to be such a perfectionist, I don't have time to edit these photos (colour balance, cropping, etc) and I really don't want to, because I want a back-up of the originals.

I do actually trust other people with my camera more than I thought I did. And sometimes they take great photos. But its funny how Josh gets the camera and suddenly there's a bunch of photos of Jac, or Elizabeth takes photos of herself... Speaking of Josh, he likes to take photos of people stuffing their faces, apparently.

I love taking portraits - don't think I've taken many recently though, since there aren't as many people around whose faces I want to capture.

This picture of Chris is awesome - look at all that hair :)

chris, december 2005

(I'm too lazy to upload a bunch more just now)

Anyway, I've just about hit the point where we came here (I'm doing it chronologically). Maybe I'll make a separate post as I go through the rest about the good things about being in London, since I often need a reminder myself...

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Monday, 10 September 2007

Uh, yeah

Is it really sad that I think this looks awesome? I can totally see me and Elizabeth playing that for hours on end...

To answer some of the questions I've been getting, such as in the comments to my last post, the place we are moving to is about 2km further west of the centre of London than we currently live. We will still be in the borough of Ealing and easily accessible to Heathrow (hint, hint, anyone wanna visit?). It will actually be faster to get into the city because we won't have to use the crappy District Line on the tube anymore, but it's a zone further out, which adds about 50p to the single fare. It has 2 bedrooms, one of which will be Elizabeth's when she moves here in about 6 months. It will be squishy but do-able if we have guests once she's here, as long as you don't mind sleeping in the living room, or sharing a room with my sister.

OK, gonna challenge Graeme to some brain training on the ds now...

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Saturday, 8 September 2007

dreaming of our new home

So we've found a place and agreed to rent it and all that. We'll be signing an 18 month lease, so through to April 2009, meaning our stay in London will be at least 3 years and 2 months. Haven't actually signed a lease yet, but we're renting directly from the owners and things are a bit slower to sort out than when an estate agent is doing all the paperwork - not that it matters, since we're not moving for another month anyway, and we've got enough documentation to constitute a contract in emails and stuff. In the meantime, I've been daydreaming about how much nicer it will be to live in the new place. It has a dishwasher and a combo washer/dryer and a decent sized fridge/freezer and a functional kitchen sink. The living space is set up so much better than what we have now. The bathroom is smaller and yet more spacious because it uses the space better. There's a separate toilet. We will have proper wardrobes again. It has two levels, meaning that even though the square footage is probably not a whole lot bigger than our current place, it feels much more like a home. We have access to the loft to store things like luggage and the giant tv box that Graeme refuses to throw away, as well as any stuff the owners leave behind that we don't want to have to live with. We even still have a little private patio area, which is cool because having realised that outside space is not as necessary here as it is back home (being that it's unusable for over half the year) we weren't actively seeking a garden of any sort. Aaaaahhhhh. Reading back over that it kinda makes it sound like the place we're currently in is totally dodgy, which it isn't - it's in a great location, it's a much sought after style of home for the area, etc - it's just that we've been here 18 months now and some of the things that seemed fine or even great when we moved in have proved less liveable/homely than we'd like. Plus, I think that living anywhere too long exposes flaws and as renters you don't even really have the power to change them - we are so ready to own our own place, I hope my parents are happy for us to live with them until we buy one when we get back :D

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Friday, 7 September 2007

a random thought...

...that I wrote in my notebook today:

Sometimes I wish I could blog from the bus - it seems to be where I do some of my best thinking. That's assuming you actually get a seat and are not crammed on like a sardine. Maybe I need a Blackberry or something.

note to Graeme: that's not a hint. No, we don't actually need anything like a blackberry. We have plenty of electronic gadgets as it is, ok?

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Elephants in Hyde Park

The best thing about my google homepage, other than being able to read all your blogs from it, is that it shows me news headlines from the BBC. I think I've mentioned before that I don't watch or read much news these days, but the occasional headline is good, especially the ones that tell me about things that are happening in and around London. Like the one I saw yesterday about the elephants in Hyde Park that have been made from willow and set up in the park to raise awareness of the plight of the asian elephants. I don't need to explain the whole thing, I just wanna show you the photos, but you can read more info about the project here.

From what I can tell, they get moved around the park, meaning I didn't know exactly where to find them, other than 'Hyde Park', which isn't very helpful. I caught the bus, well actually a couple of buses, towards the park, but decided to get off at Kensington Gardens instead. Not too big a deal as the two are separated by nothing more than a road. As I walked in, I realised the palace looked different. Wondering what was going on, I headed towards it, my brain working overtime to try and figure out what was going on. And then it clicked - Princess Diana. Sure enough, there were flowers and posters all over the fence and front gate of the palace. There were plenty of people looking at them and even more kids sitting on the ground having what looked like an art lesson.

kids doing art

Princess Diana tributes outside Kensington Palace

I then headed towards Hyde Park. Along the way I saw a shoe in a tree.

shoe in a tree

And then I saw the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, something I instantly remembered reading about and thinking it would be cool to visit, but which I had not had in mind when I set out for the day.

So of course I had to go and check it out. Every year, they commission someone to design a summer pavilion to be constructed next to the gallery. This one has a spiral walkway around the outside and inside is a mini arena area where they do talks and things some evenings.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007

As I walked past the Diana Memorial Fountain thing, I was quite disappointed to see this tree, with it's leaves already turning colour and starting to fall. It can't possibly be autumn when we never had summer - how depressing.

autumn colours already?

I finally found the elephants grazing near the end of the Serpentine. I've already showed you their photos. Then I went and found myself a place in the shade, where I had a snack and finished composing a blog post about renting (that I think belongs on our website, not here).

more photos on flickr, of course...

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Thursday, 6 September 2007

nothing else to report

Realised the post I made earlier today will probably go over the head of some of my readers and be of very little interest to others. But I have been promising various people that I will post more often and try to give you more of an insight into my life, so I'm not going to put off posting anymore when I think of something I want to say. Really though, there's not much TO say. School has gone back, but being a supply teacher it could be awhile before I start working again, especially since we are headed home (as in, Sydney) next week for a couple of weeks and 2 family weddings. Once I get back I will be looking to get something more temporary than casual if possible. We've been trying to find somewhere to live for the next 18 months, meaning a move just after we get back from Oz. Other than that, I've been trying to finish up a few projects I want done before the trip (you know, like the wedding presents) but there's nothing worth showing off yet. Maybe I SHOULD be making myself take pictures every day - at least I'd have something to post. Although, having written that title before I started writing, I've probably proven myself wrong. Oh well, it's staying.

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Wednesday, 5 September 2007


You'd think, if you were going to be on facebook, you'd do something to make sure that people could find you - like, I dunno, putting a picture on your profile. Graeme and I were talking about primary school for some reason and I decided to search for people I knew when I was 12. But so many people have nothing, no picture, no networks to give you a hint...
Maybe I'm a hypocrite though, because if those same people I knew when I was 12 searched for me, they wouldn't find me, you know, having changed my name and all.

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Tuesday, 4 September 2007

101 things updated

OK, I think I'm caught up on my 101 things blog. Do people want to know what things are on my 'in progress' list too? Most of them are pretty obvious, I think, and if I haven't mentioned them, they're probably not happening... Uh yeah, that's all for now. I ordered some moo minicards today - they are going to have our website address on them and at the moment our website is pretty, well, not pretty, so I need to get working on that.

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Saturday, 1 September 2007

August 31

Today is the last day of my task to take a photo every day for a month. One more thing to cross off my 101 things list (I really should update that, shouldn't I? Someone remind me if it gets to Monday and I haven't, OK?)

august 31
My current work in progress
you'll see what it is when I finish (which was supposed to be today, but that's clearly not the case)

A reminder of all my previous photos, just because I can...
August 2007

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Friday, 31 August 2007

HP Friday 5

1. What's the nerdiest thing you've ever done in the name of Harry Potter?
Probably my spew badges, which I made in a heap of different colours, not because I needed that many but because I wanted to have a big range of colours like Hermione does in book 4.
2. How many people have you peer-pressured into reading the series?
I know I've had an influence in some people's decisions to finally start reading it, but the only person I am actively peer-pressuring is Alison because she still hasn't started reading them and I KNOW she'll love them.
3. What's the biggest misconception non-HP have about the series and/or fandom?
That they're kids books. Sure, they're not highly intellectual in content or writing style, but there are themes and ideas, especially in later books, that are beyond the grasp of the ordinary 13 year old.
4. What is your favourite piece of HP merchandise?
My books. Not only do I have my full set of well-read ones (6 from Australia, 1 from UK), I also collect them from foreign countries when I travel in place of usual souvenirs - I have French, Dutch, Romanian, Portugese, Swedish, Greek and American.
I don't own much of the movie merchandise stuff, because I think most of it is cheap and tacky.
5. Do you think the HP fandom will still be strong 10 years from now?
I think there will still be plenty of fans, but I think the 'trendiness' will have worn off and those people who are more a fan of the movies and online communities will have drifted away.

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August 30

august 30
my sewing machine

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Thursday, 30 August 2007

August 29

august 29

A little embroidery detail on a thrifted sheet that I bought - I started cutting it up for projects today.

In other news, I sent out an email about our upcoming trip to Australia today. If you are reading this from Sydney (or somewhere nearby) and/or feel like you should've got the email, but didn't, let me know.

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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

August 28

august 28

The sun is out! I tried to take a picture of the steam rising off my drying jeans, but it didn't work out, so instead you get this one of some of the plants in our back garden. I just hope it stays out long enough for the washing to dry...

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Tuesday, 28 August 2007

August 25-27

My daily photos from the weekend - a sneak peek at what we got up to. Dunno when I'll get around to uploading more, but they'll be on my flickr eventually, I'm sure.

august 25
the angel of the north

august 26
alnwick castle
aka hogwarts

august 27
goathland station
aka hogsmeade station

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Unread: 62 emails and 83 rss items

We've only been away for 3 days! There are travel diary posts to type up as well as lots of photos to copy, go through and upload. I think I'm going to be on my computer most of the day...

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Saturday, 25 August 2007

HP Friday 5

It's been awhile since I've been avoiding the ones directly relating to the 7th book, as well as being lazy or forgetful...

Pick one character per question
(I'm going with the assumption that everyone is alive and the kids are still kids...)

1. Who would you become for a day using Polyjuice Potion? I'm stuck on the fact that you would take on their appearance but not any of their knowledge so you'd have to try and play the part all day. Probably just a random inconsequential Hogwarts student so I could go to class and stuff (obviously not during book 7). Although they'd have to be a Gryffindor so I could go in the common room and a member of Dumbledore's Army would be good. Let's say Lavender.
2. Who would you like to have around if attacked by Death Eaters? Dumbledore
3. Who would you spend a day at Hogsmeade with? Fred (and George, obviously, but it said to pick one and Fred has a cooler name)
4. Who would be the person you'd like to give you a tour of Hogwarts? Luna, because she knows all the secrets by now and she would be just as entertaining as the castle.
5. At whose house would you like to spend the night? Ginny's

on a related note...
So, you all know Harry's birthday falls almost exactly between mine and Graeme's, right?
I've decided we're going to have a combined 30th birthday party on Harry's 30th birthday - July 31, 2010. I'll expect you all to be in costume so I'm giving you plenty of notice :)

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August 24

This is what happens when it gets to almost 10pm and I haven't taken my daily photo...
I ask Graeme what I should photograph and he starts listing various silly things, including his nose, so I oblige.

Then, not believing the flash is as bright as he seems to think, I blind myself taking a self-portrait.

august 23

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Friday, 24 August 2007

August 23 - I made a book

august 23

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Thursday, 23 August 2007

August 22

Another reason (on top of still being sick - ugh) why going outside is much less appealing than curling up on the couch and watching movies...

august 22

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Wednesday, 22 August 2007

oh yeah

a quick update on the card race - Mum's arrived today (Tuesday), so 3 posts later than Elizabeth's...

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August 21

I'm still not 100%, so you get another "oh crap, it's getting late and I haven't taken a photo because I've barely left the couch, let alone the room or the house" shot.

august 21

Apologies to all those people to whom I owe return emails and whatnot - I will get around to it...

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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

August 20

I've got emails and blogs to catch up on and a website to redesign, but I've spent most of the day curled up on the couch reading because I don't feel well...

august 20

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Monday, 20 August 2007

August 19

august 19
the flag in our hallway
taken from the floor

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Sunday, 19 August 2007

August 18

like looking in a mirror
like looking in a mirror

We went to the zoo for my birthday - yes, I am a big kid. Graeme actually took most of the photos, so you'll have to wait for an upload from him to see the gorillas and cute little monkeys (he got some really good photos). Click on the photo above to see the best of the ones I took, including the meerkats.

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Saturday, 18 August 2007

August 17

august 17

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Went for a walk today, visited some charity shops and the community recycling places, as well as a couple of pound shops (you know, as opposed to dollar shops). Without spending all of my tenner, I came away with a piece of brown (cotton, I think) fabric about 1400x1450mm, a single white bed sheet (both will be used for a project I'm planning), a purple scarf, an A4 ikea clips frame and all the things you see in the photo above - a sticker booklet, a beaded bracelet kit, a mickey mouse camera strap still in original packaging and a set of 8 Winnie the Pooh cookie cutters. The cookie cutters were only a pound - I feel like I should go back and get a couple more sets - you'd like one, wouldn't you mum? Anyone else want me to bring them some cookie cutters home? (no guarantees obviously, but I can try)

Anyway, I also had an awesome lunch of a chicken, avacado and salad baguette, which I ate in the town square, laughing (though not out loud) at the guy sitting near to me who had paid 3 times as much for a similar thing from Subway. And now I think I'm going to play with my new stuff...

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Friday, 17 August 2007

Elizabeth Wins the Card Race

...although Mum may still win overall if her card arrives tomorrow because mailing a birthday card to arrive on the right day is impressive enough, but when that card has to travel from Sydney to London (and therefore be handled by both Australia Post AND Royal Mail) it's just WOW. Apparently Elizabeth only mailed hers on Tuesday lunchtime in Melbourne, so that's quite impressive. I'm not just telling you this to remind you that tomorrow is my birthday :D They actually asked me to tell them which one got here first since they mailed them the same day. So I guess, in this case, Melbourne beats Sydney.

Oh, I should say that the packages from Graeme's mum and grandparents both arrived ages ago (thanks) and I couldn't resist opening them. His mum sent a travel book, of which we're building up quite a collection. His grandma always sends me socks... but that's because she's like me and has big feet and knows how hard it can be to get decent socks in larger sizes... and they're bonds. I love bonds. Plus a cool hat from Target. It's probably hard to imagine how much I miss Target - lame, huh?

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Reconsidering Renting

Gee, I hate this - pumping so much money into someone else's mortgage because even though we could afford to pay off a mortgage, we can't get a big enough one to get a decent place. Anyway, since people have been asking and I'm sick of typing variations of this out on messenger over and over, this is what's happening with us.

If we'd really wanted to, we could've stayed in this house until March with the same rent, because the lease we signed was kinda weird - basically 2 years with an 18 month get-out. We're going to be here 19 months though, because with the trip back to Australia and Graeme's inability to read the lease conditions properly (we had to give 60 days notice, not 4 weeks) it just worked out better that way. The reason we decided to move on is two-fold: primarily because this place just doesn't work for us like it should, in terms of liveability and value for money; secondly because we are already starting to think about what we will do when Elizabeth comes over and wants/needs some living space in our place. So we decided to look for somewhere now that was big enough to accommodate all three of us with the knowledge that even if we pushed our budget for 6 months to afford it, once Elizabeth arrives and contributes to the rent we will actually be better off. The idea was to sign an 18 month lease so we would be in that one place until we head home in (northern hemisphere) Spring 2008. So we started looking and saw a couple of places that were awful, a couple that were too far out of our budget and one that seemed ok - a garden flat in a converted terrace house, same sort of thing we have now but slightly bigger and laid out much better, including a second bedroom that is actually big enough to live in. We decided we may as well put an offer in for that. Yeah, an offer. Real estate here is SOOOO dodgy - it's not regulated properly and all the people who work in it seem totally untrustworthy in everything they say and do. Anyway, if you see a place you like, you submit a thing saying "this is who I am and this is how long I'd like to live in that property and how much I'm willing to pay" and then it becomes a big long process (especially when, like us, you submit an offer under the asking price and can't move in for about 7 weeks) where you know the agent is trying to play both sides and get the best possible commission for themselves - will you pay more, can you move sooner, etc. Since we've got so long, we're not budging, figuring we can let that come to whatever conclusion its going to come to (you're not obliged in any way, even if the offer is accepted, until the contract is signed) while we look at other places. Here's the catch. Everyone else Graeme has contacted basically isn't interested in helping us because of the fact that we're still so far out from the move. Because it is summer and actually warm enough to be moving house, the 'market is very active' so unless the place isn't available until October, we're not going to be the most attractive tenants. And since most leases do only require 4 weeks notice, we really need to give it a couple of weeks before we start really searching again, which is fine, because we've now decided we need that time to decide what we're going to do...

We're NOW thinking that we might completely downgrade for 6 months. We're not expecting any visitors or anything and we still don't know how much work I will or won't get, so maybe we should just get a studio or one-bedroom for less money so we can be saving more. (we're well aware that a share house would be even cheaper, but that's so not going to happen) Then, when Elizabeth gets here, or is close to arriving, we look for somewhere bigger with the knowledge that we will have 3 people contributing to expenses. Of course, this means moving twice, which I can't say I love, but since most rental places here are furnished, it's nowhere near as big a deal as moving an entire house-full of stuff. Plus we'd be living in the smaller place over winter, when you don't need things like gardens, because you never go out in them anyway.

OK, that was long, but I think I've explained what the situation is so I shouldn't have to do so again. I've been thinking a lot about my ideal living situation and dreaming of a cool little community with family and friends all living in well-proportioned houses on a giant property that has a communal swimming pool and play equipment and lots of space to run around...

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August 16

august 16

Our dvd collection...
well, a small part of it :)

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Thursday, 16 August 2007

August 15

august 15

This photo kinda sums up our day...

My laptop screen (on the left) shows one of the crappy photos I took of the fair setting up as I walked home from seeing some potential new homes (although the word 'potential' implies any of them were actually worth considering moving into, which they weren't really... ok, the one that she sneakily showed me that was way higher than our price range was nice - river view and everything, but I digress). Obviously, i wasn't happy with any of the photos so had to take some more.

Graeme's laptop (right) shows house-hunting in progress.

The tv (in the middle) is showing ads during Match of the Day on BBC1.

We've been here for the last 20 minutes or so and probably will be here til we go to bed. Basically, our lives have once again become consumed with trying to find ourselves a place to live for the rest of our time in London... I'm already sick of it and we're pretty much only 1 day in.

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Wednesday, 15 August 2007

August 14 - Free Book

When we went to the innocent village fete the other weekend, there was an area set up by Penguin Books with lots of beanbags and bookshelves full of books that you could just sit and read. We didn't stop for long, other than to look at the cool mugs and stuff they had with book titles on them (I'm sure I took photos, but I haven't uploaded any of my photos from that day...). Anyway, I picked up this bookmark about blog a penguin classic, a thing where you sign up online to review a book and they send you out the book for free. You don't get any choice about what book you get or anything, but a free classic novel in the post is always good, right? Then the idea is you read it and write a review for their site. My book arrived today (which is fortunate, since the weather is terrible and I was wondering what I would photograph for my daily photo) - The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. I haven't started reading yet, but I noticed it has one of those long introduction things by someone other than the author which I can never decide about reading - I don't want to be influenced in my reading of it, but I do want it to make sense.

I was about to suggest that others in the UK should get in on this, but it seems as if all the books have been assigned...

august 14 - free book

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007

August 13


I went for a walk in the park near our house today - it's probably about the only thing I'll miss about this place when we move, although there are plenty of little parks around London, so hopefully we'll find a place near one. There's a cool carved tree and a little field that just gets to grow wild and a bunch of trees and stuff. There's also a playground, football field, tennis and basketball courts, although we haven't really used any of them, other than to run around. More photos on flickr.

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Monday, 13 August 2007

August 11 & 12

Complete with the exact captions I gave them on flickr - I'm feeling pretty lazy right now. I know I owe you a proper post (or 5) but this is all I have for now.

august 11
a flower in our backyard - I spent most of the day watching series 1 of Heroes, so this was the best I took...
oh, and I know its not really focussed but I like it

august 12
C salad for dinner
using everything we had available - Carrot, Celery, Cucumber and Capsicum (although they call that peppers here...)

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Saturday, 11 August 2007

August 10

Two photos today, partly because I couldn't make up my mind which to show you, partly because they were the only 2 worth uploading. I only had my little point-and-shoot with me and while it has the ability to capture great shots, I sometimes struggle to readjust my mindset from the dSLR. I guess I could've got fancy and combined the two photos into one and all that, but the purpose of this project is purely to get me taking photos more often.

august 10

august 10 part 2

Taken in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens respectively. I went out for the day, mainly just to get out of the house and into the sun, and spent some time in the park on the way to shopping and again later to eat my lunch. I amazed myself by buying a dress and a skirt - I haven't even found clothes I like lately, let alone buying them. The dress alone was £135... of course I didn't actually pay that much, they were both on sale :D

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Friday, 10 August 2007


We've known of the existence of this tv show for awhile, but we missed the start of the series on the sci-fi channel and just hadn't actively pursued it yet. However, they started showing it Wednesday nights on BBC2 a couple of weeks ago and we were hooked. Last night, after watching the episode on BBC2, we remembered that my brother had actually given us a disc with the first 11 episodes on it. We've just finished watching the last of those episodes and Graeme is already on the hunt for more episodes. It's weird how I have a real objection to obtaining films and music in a less than ideal way, but don't have the same issues when it comes to tv. I know I'm not the only person in the world who feels like this - really, if the networks want us to watch it when they broadcast it, they should actually show it sometime near when it premieres in it's country of origin. I know they are starting to do that sort of thing more now, both here and in Australia, because the television networks are slowly realising that people don't want to wait when they can get it online much faster and actually be up-to-date with their friends in other countries. Anyway, BBC are showing it without ads (as they do everything) so I don't feel as though we're costing them any revenue or anything. So yeah, I got a bit sidetracked, when all I really want to say is we're on the Heroes bandwagon and are enjoying the ride.

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August 09

august 09
reminders of home

I didn't set this up for the photo - this is on one of the shelves in our living room. There are also more photos, a couple of soft toys and some random other stuff. Click on the photo to go to its flickr page and see what everything is.

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Thursday, 9 August 2007

now we have to move...

We just gave our notice that we're going to end our lease in this house. It's a big relief in many ways that we've made the decision and followed through on it - we should be able to get somewhere bigger for the same amount of money that is better suited to our needs and able to accommodate Elizabeth when she moves here. But now we have to actually start finding that place. And we'll be moving the weekend after we get back from Australia...

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August 08

august 08
laundry day
just thought you'd all like to see our undies

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Wednesday, 8 August 2007

August 07 & Project ??

august 07

Yeah, I still haven't got around to counting up my projects, but here's another one - a custom dress form that I finished today partly so I had something to photograph for my daily photo. It started as two old t-shirts, a couple rolls of tape, a wire coat-hanger from the dry cleaner and a cardboard tube that I can't remember acquiring and is now a near exact replica of my torso that I can use to drape fabric and make patterns and stuff - I am hoping to make a couple of dresses, hopefully ones I can wear to the upcoming weddings, because I can't find anything in the shops. It is stuffed with two things I was glad to get rid of/put to a more positive use - our big pile of plastic shopping bags and a bunch of shredded documents from last year at that craptacular job. Its kind of weird being able to look at your body shape without looking in the mirror.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2007

August 06

august 06
sorting out photos

posts with actual sentences coming tomorrow...

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Monday, 6 August 2007

August 03, 04 and 05

Totally buggered from our packed weekend, but am slowly working my way through the things I need to do to catch up. There are heaps more photos to come, especially from the 3rd which, on top of all the things I would've photographed anyway, I did as a "my day in photos" for an online community I'm part of.

august 03
me and graeme

august 04
scottish parliament building

august 05
fair rides at the innocent village fete

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Friday, 3 August 2007


Never got around to those updates, did I? I guess it's kind of a good thing, because I've been spending time doing things not on my computer, but I feel bad because I said they were coming and they didn't. And they're not even that exciting (just what we did on the weekend and the latest films we've seen and things like that) but now I've stupidly built them up so when you read them you'll be all like "is that it?"

And now it won't happen for awhile because my next three days will be busy. This time tomorrow I'll be sitting outside Edinburgh castle watching the military tattoo. We're catching the train up tomorrow and coming back on Saturday. And just today we bought tickets for this on Sunday which looks really cool. So I might not be around to do updates (and upload all those photos I will be taking over the next 3 days) until Monday. A part of me can't quite believe I'm going to post that info on my blog and feels like pointing out that we have locks on all our windows - why is that?

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August 02

august 02

My collection of Harry Potter books - click on the photo to see where they come from.

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Thursday, 2 August 2007

August 01

august 01

#54 on my 101 things list is to take at least one photo every day for a month. So here is day 1. You can expect to see the photos virtually straight from the camera, because I'm not willing to set myself up to spend a lot of time every day on post-processing - I'll just upload and post. I kind of have this idea that I would love to take a photo every day of my 28th year, which doesn't actually start until the 18th I know, but I decided to start now, aim for a photo every day of August and hopefully have it so built into my routine that I continue with it for the rest of the year.

#52 on the list is to identify and photograph 101 things that make me happy, so if I'm not doing anything very interesting or not super inspired on any particular day, I aim to kill two birds with one stone. And that's how this image came about - it's not the fanciest collection of water colours, but I still love the way you add water to the hard blocks of colour and suddenly have paint.

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Wednesday, 1 August 2007

apparently we have a mouse

I say apparently because I haven't actually seen it or any evidence that it exists. But right now Graeme is creeping around the dark house trying to find it or catch it or something. I don't really know what he's doing, but this is the second evening in a few that he's been sitting next to me and suddenly jumped up because he claims to have seen a mouse run into the hallway...

In other news, I've got myself into one of those states where I have a heap of things to post here, but to post them all seems like a daunting task and I end up avoiding it all together. You can probably expect a few posts over the next couple of days now that I've told you that though, since telling people generally makes me more accountable.

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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Illustration Friday - Moon

I've been getting the Illustration Friday topic emails for a couple of weeks now, but today was the first Friday that I actually got my butt in gear and did something.


Just something quick I did in Photoshop - was even too lazy to pull out my tablet, meaning I basically drew it with my finger on the laptop-touchpad-mouse-thing - but I kinda like it. And hopefully I will be more likely to get creative every week now I've started.

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Friday, 27 July 2007

getting my craft on

I have no idea what project numbers these are, but I've taken photos and I may as well put them up while I'm motivated to do so - I need to go through and sort out more photos and posts of my progress towards my 50 projects in 2007...

Spurred on by the release of HP7, I did some serious crafting last week. Firstly, I made this wand, based on the instructions here. Mine's not as pretty as his because, well, I started it in some spare time in the workshop at the school I was working at and then had to finish it at home where I am very short in supply for things like paint :( But I still think it's cool.


At the same time, I was working on making a new batch of SPEW badges and some Sickles out of polymer clay so that I could share the love with the other fans waiting in line. Of course, I also needed something to carry them in, so I used some red satin from my very small stash (mostly leftovers from the school musical costumes I made last year) to make a cute little pouch. Considering I just winged it, I'm really happy with how this turned out - I even used eyelets for the cord to go through and made the cord and tassles out of the leftovers from my scarf.

spew badges and sickles
the contents

top view

see - tassles

I still have plenty of badges and sickles left - there weren't as many people to share the love with as I thought there'd be. So if you want one, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Then, since I was on a roll, I used every inch of this piece of black cotton drill I had to make a basic bag that would work with my outfit (which I stupidly didn't get a photo of). It was a bit boring plain, so I made a couple more badges, based on the ones worn at Hogwarts during the Triwizard Tournament.

black bag

So that's like 5 more projects completed and I have a couple more in various stages from concept to almost done. Now I need to clean up the table and do some more scrapbooking. See ya.

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