Getting healthy

28.4.12 - 10:57
One of my goals this year is to work on getting more healthy. I'd like to lose a bit of weight too, but that's not specifically my aim. I'd like to eat less processed food, make better choices and do more exercise.

Exercise has always been a big issue for me. I'm not good at sport and I always hated PE at school. This really didn't set me up for a lifetime of good habits, actually apart from a couple of ill-fated attempts at going to a gym, I've pretty much ignored it. The problem was always that I couldn't actually do the tasks. At the gym, they'd say, 'then jog for ten minutes' TEN MINUTES! I had no clue how people did that.

Finally I realised I needed to learn how to do exercise from a more basic level. In the same way you have to learn cooking. It's all well and good to have a recipe, but if you don't know what boil or whisk means? It's not going to work.

That's when I found this: NHS Couch to 5k plan.
It's a series of podcasts which guide you from doing nothing to being able to jog 5k (about 3 miles) after nine weeks.

It starts you off running for 60 seconds at a time. The first week I even found that difficult, but I quickly learnt that breathing in enough air is one of the most important elements. Getting out of breath, amongst other things, was why I couldn't do ten minutes on a treadmill. Each week the amount of running you do builds up, you run for a bit then walk for a bit to recover. The podcast tells you when to speed up and when you can slow down again.

I can now run for 25 minutes in a row. I'll admit that it's taken much longer than nine weeks - some things got in the way. But I'm getting there.

I really recommend you give it a go if you want to get moving, it's free to download, so what have you got to lose?



New home

23.4.12 - 00:10

You might have noticed a couple of changes around here over the weekend. The most notable being that 'Other Amusements' has moved to: www.otheramusements.com 

This name not only reflects the contents more accurately but also marks the beginning of a new chapter. I'm looking forward to doing more blogging now I have a new computer (finally) and working on my writing and photography skills. I hope you'll join me.

p.s. Everything should redirect automatically.



Week in the life project

22.4.12 - 12:12
Ali Edwards is a scrapbooker and graphic designer who teaches classes and designs digital assets for the scrapbooking community. Her work is usually very modern and has a nice clean style.

Every year she runs a project called 'Week in the life' where you record in detail your everyday life. She produces templates which you can buy if you want, but you can do it any way you like.

I've decided to give it a go. I doubt I'll get each day finished on that day, but if I take lots of pictures and make some notes, I should be able to catch up quickly.

With this in mind, I made a start by designing some base pages to work with during the next week. The folder I am using is around 6in x 8in, so they are set up for that size.

Quite a few people seem to have already said they'll be taking part. I like the idea that everyone will be documenting the same week but they'll all be so different. I'm also looking forward to seeing how others  approach the project creatively.

If you want to know more about 'Week in the life' click on the banner at the top to head over to aliedwards.com for lots of info and inspiration from past years.



Easter treats

19.4.12 - 23:15
So, Easter. We are not religious at all, but we do like to celebrate. In the way that Christmas is our winter feast, Easter is our Spring shindig. We usually have a tasty family dinner and then eat lots of chocolate. This year instead of buying giant eggs, I made a few treats for my family. I'm not ashamed to say that they are 100% Pinterest inspired. You can check out the originals on my 'food board'.

First up - Easter bark. We don't really have 'bark' in the UK, but I've seen it a lot on American blogs. It mainly seems to crop up at Christmas but this version from The Browy Blog looked pretty easy to do. It's not quite as simple as she makes it look! Chocolate is a pernickety substance and one drop of water makes it seize. Which is gross. It goes from a glossy liquid to a lumpy dry mess in seconds. This happened the first time I put a tiny bit of food colouring in even though I used the paste kind. Luckily it was only a very small amount of chocolate and mixing more in saved the day.

I packaged it up in cellophane bags and added the cards on the top. I was going to create some cute bunny themed designs for the tops but I had this scrapbooking paper from My Mind's Eye. The colours are so Easter-y, and it's such lovely quality, I couldn't resist using it. I used a punch to make the scalloped edge then stamped a simple message. Done.

I also made these fun teabag shaped biscuits. They go quite well with a cup of tea apparently, though I can't guarantee you be able to un-dunk them using the string.

I used matching paper to make the tea tag and stamped it with a t. I suppose it should have been a T, but there aren't any capitals in my set. I don't think anyone minded.

Happy (belated) Easter!



Our wedding invitations

15.4.12 - 20:08
Hello there. Today I was taken by the idea of photographing our wedding invitations. There was some light coming in through the windows which was ideal, and you want to see, right?

I didn't write much about our wedding before the day as I didn't want to give anything away to our guests. Not that we did anything crazy, I don't think it was a surprise to our friends and family that I didn't wear a white dress! I also doubt it was very surprising that I made a lot of the bits and pieces myself, including the invitations.

I designed and made them from scratch. As we got married in October I wanted to incorporate a pumpkin, but not have it be too Halloween-y; so I designed a pumpkin-heart which became the main motif on the other pieces. They took quite a long time, but I think it was well worth it. What do you think?