Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Tag your it

I have been tagged by the lovely DJ. My task is to complete the list's of eight things and then I've to tag eight other bloggers to let them know they have been tagged.

So here goes:

8 things I am looking forward to - 1. Having our neighbour over for dinner tomorrow night (Her husband is away so we thought it would be nice to invite her round). 2. Spending some time with my Mum (She arrives on Saturday). 3. My Birthday (on Sunday). 4. Seeing Jane and Andrew (Good friends that are over on holiday from Bangkok...I just know it'll be lots of fun and very messy!!). 5. Having a go at painting with watercolours. 6. Finishing the embroidery I am working on. 7. Celebrating the marriage of DJ and Chris. 8. Starting my Masters Course.

8 things I did yesterday - 1. Helped set up the Malmesbury Art Exhibition in the local Abbey. 2. Designed a 'welcome to your new home' card which I am hoping to sell to a card company. 3. Drank lots of tea. 4. Laughed at Chris when he turned up in a tiny courtesy car (his is at the garage getting the dent in the hood fixed. The car really was small and he's 6ft 3!!). 5. Made cheese on toast. 6. Went to the Art Society at our local hall. 7. Learned that one of the women at the Art Society lived in Bangkok for three years and knows someone I know (Small world eh!!). 8. Cried with laughter at the cat. Gai was fast asleep on my mobile phone...it was on vibrate...it went off!! He went from fast asleep to upright and in the middle of the floor in seconds (I've never seen him move so fast) twas very funny!!

8 things I wish I could do - 1. My hair :-). 2. Eat what I want and be thin. 3. Wave a wand and all the cleaning would be done. 4. Travel the world. 5. Encourage everyone to volunteer some of their time to help someone else (the world would be a better place if they did). 6. Get rid of Politicians!! 7. Bring back common sense!! 8. Ban those frilly things that people put over the top of their jam jars (I just don't see the point in them!!)

8 shows I watch - 1. Mock the week. 2. Top Gear. 3. QI. 4. Panorama. 5. Dispatches. 7. Never Mind The Buzzcocks. 8. Star Trek (but that's not through choice!!)

8 Favourite Fruits - 1. Lychee. 2. Mango. 3. Pineapple. 4. Strawberry. 5. Cherries. 6. Bananas. 7. Grapes (well, they go into wine!!). 8. Is chocolate a fruit? No? Oh! :-(.

8 Places I would like to travel - 1. Peru - I would love to visit Machu Picchu. 2. Kathmandu in Nepal. 3. Morocco (I adore the food!!). 4. China - I have always wanted to see the Great Wall. 5. Lhasa in Tibet - home to the Dalai Lama (I'm not religious...I just think it would be interesting!!). 6. Egypt - I would love to visit the Pyramids!! 7. India - Who wouldn't want to go and see the Taj Mahal? 8. Sweden - I would love to see the Northern lights and to spend a night in the Ice Hotel (I don't like being cold so I'm not really sure why I want to do that....I just always have!!)

8 places I have lived - 1. Glasgow. 2. Stration (tiny village in the middle of no-where in Scotland). 3. London. 4. Manchester. 5. Bangkok, Thailand. 6. Malmesbury. 7. Who knows....could be anywhere....could be nextdoor to you (be afraid...be very afraid!!)

I'm not going to tag 8 people.....I'm just going to say that if you fancy having a go please do and then let me know when you have :-)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

I'm Auctioning My Painting

I have decided, after much question asking (Thank you to everyone who gave an opinion), that I will auction the painting that I did of Blu's photo. I have set a reserve price, under which it will not be sold, and have decided that if anyone bids more than my reserve the additional money will go to a local charity (Yes, I do put my money where my mouth is!!).

This is a photograph of the painting and it can be hung this way

or this way.

It is an original painting by me (No prints have been made so it really is a one off!!). It is 23cm wide and 30 cm tall, was done using Acrylic Paints and is signed and dated on the back.

If you would like to place a bid please e-mail me at carol_burns@hotmail.co.uk, put 'Painting Bid' in the subject of your e-mail, state what price you are willing to pay and where in the world you are based (For postage and packaging reasons). Now, I'm not sure the best way to go about this but, if I was bidding, I would want to have the option of upping my bid if someone placed a higher one (Well, you've got to be positive about these things don't you!!) so with that in mind, please also state whether you want to know if your bid has been passed and I will make sure that you are kept informed. The deadline for bids is Friday 7th August at 5pm.

I've never done this before and have probably missed some vital piece of information so if you have any questions please just ask :-)

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Update: I've set the reserve at £40


Absolute Vanilla - This view is for you *grins*

Friday, 24 July 2009

Ok, I shall put you all out of your misery

because I have now been put out of mine!!

I'm not going to be doing a degree any more.

I'm going to be doing

A Masters!!! (OMG, OMG, OMG)

I can't believe I have been accepted!! I am going to be undertaking a MSc in Organisation and Community Development....and at the end of it...not only will I have a Masters I will have a Masters that is endorsed by the England Standards Board for Community Development Work!! (How bloody fantastic is that!!!)

I told you that the meeting at London Met went well!!

Basically, I spent over two hours talking to the Head of the Community Development Department and she told me that, with my experience and current qualifications, she thought I would be much more suited to the Masters Course (She actually told me that she thought there were parts of the degree which I could probably teach!!). Unfortunately she couldn't make the final decision but she gave me the contact details of the guy that runs the course and told me that she would send him an e-mail recommending me.

I got in touch with him on Monday, outlined my work experience and he sent me back and e-mail saying that my experience was great but that he needed me to complete two written exercises before he could make a decision. I had to submit a piece of work that described an important event in my life and what I learned from it and then I had to take a current issue or debate that I had read about, summarise the issue, describe different people's opinions on it, state what my opinion was and why and then say where I got my information and whether I thought that it was accurate and complete. I sent them off on Wednesday afternoon and have been on tender hooks ever since!!

I've just received the e-mail to say that I have been accepted and I'm on cloud nine!! (I think it may be quite some time till I come down!!!)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

You know someone is a good friend when

you have not seen them in a while but when you meet it feels like you just saw them the day before!! It was so good to catch up with JJ and her kids last week and within seconds we were talking our usual nonsense...she was teasing me for drinking too much the night before and I was teasing her about her public transport skills!! (Seriously, I don't know how she manages to get anywhere...it was a small miracle she managed to meet me!! Just read this).

We had such a fab day!! After going for our traditional coffee in Starbucks, we did a bit of shopping and then she introduced me to the delights of a wholefood restaurant called Leon (Honestly, everything looked so good I had real problems deciding what I wanted). I had a grilled chicken wrap with yogurt and garlic mayonaise and then spent our entire lunch with food envy!! (Is it just me that gets this?). JJ had sweet potato falafel and hummous which looked utterly scrumptious....I know what I'm having next time I go!!

Anway, after lunch we went to see who was on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square (If you don't know what I'm on about click here) and then went on one of London's City Bus Tours!! I can't believe I lived in London for five years and never went on one.....it was fab!! We sat on the top deck of a double decker bus and spent a wonderful two hours travelling all over the city....we saw St. James's Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben & Houses of Parliament, The London Eye, Downing Street, St. Paul's Cathedral, London Bridge, The London Dungeon, Shakespeare's Globe and Tate Modern to name but a few. The tour guide was very entertaining and actually very knowledgable!! If your ever in London you should so do the tour!!

Thank you for a lovely day JJ. It was great seeing you and the kids and hopefully we'll manage another get together next time your in the country!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Please bear with me....

I have loads to blog about

Meeting with the tutor from London Met, my lovely day with JJ and our fabulous weekend with Tom but I have some work to do which must be completed by the end of the day!! Hopefully, once the work has been completed and evaluated, I will have some exciting news to share with you!! (I know....I'm a tease...)

I hope to reply to your lovely comments on my last post either this evening (depends how the work goes) or tomorrow and to catch up with all your blogs over the next couple of days. Just wanted to let you know that I'm still here....

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

New Painting

I have been saying for ages that I wanted to have a go at doing a painting based on one of the wonderful photo's that Blu from Blucamels in Brittany takes. (Her blog is fab so do pop over and say hi). So after checking that she wouldn't mind, I spent a rediculous length of time last week looking through her photographs attempting to choose one...not an easy task!! Anyway, I finally selected one and had a go.

I decided that instead of trying to re-create the photograph I would try and re-create the feel of it. I don't think I have done the photograph justice!! (Sorry Blu). Anyway, I said that I would share my efforts whether they were good, bad or ugly so

here is the gorgeous photo that Blu took

and here is my painting of it


and now I have to be honest and say that I actually like it better upside down!! (I discovered this when I was painting the sides of the canvass!!)


I still have quite a way to go on the painting front don't I!!
Still, practice makes perfect and all that :-)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Funny Friday

I've not been up to much this week so I'm relying on one of my 'I've not done anything worth blogging about lately' silly posts. Hope you enjoy :-)


Wednesday, 8 July 2009

By popular demand (Recipe and Painting)

Tom Yum Goong (makes enough for four people as a starter or two as a main course)

Ingredients:
  • 12 Prawns (Whole or with tails still attached - you need the shell. Personally I think it's best when you use just the shell as I found it a bit fishy when I used the heads but try it both ways and see what you prefer).
  • 6 Stalks Lemongrass cut into long chunky slices (Fresh is best but you can use dried!!)
  • 8 Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half
  • 10 Button Mushrooms quartered
  • 6 Chillies smallish orange and green (you add them in whole)
  • 5 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • 7 slices Galangal
  • 1 Handful Coriander chopped
  • 4 Coriander stalks chopped fine
  • 1 Spring Onion chopped
  • 2 Tom Yum Stock Cubes
  • 2 pints boiling water
  • Fresh Ginger - 2 fingers worth cut into large slices
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 tsp Thai Chilli Paste
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Lime to taste
If your having this as a main course then serve it with a bowl of Jasmine Rice (The Thai's spoon some of the soup onto the rice as they eat) so remember to add the rice to your shopping list. You can buy all the ingredients at most major supermarkets (I got mine in Tesco's but have also spotted the stuff I needed for the recipe in Waitrose and Sainsbury). For your info - I've not seen Tom Yum stock cubes here but I have seen it in a jar as a paste. (I've made the soup using the paste and it was just as lovely so if you can't get the cubes get the paste and follow the instructions on the packet)


Preparation:
Shell and de-vein the prawns, keeping the tails intact. Reserve the heads (if using) and the shells. In a pot, add the boiling water, then add the heads (if using) and shells. Simmer for five minutes. Remove the prawn shells and return the water to the boil. Add the Tom Yum Goong stock cubes followed by the Ginger, Chillies, Lemon Grass, Galangal, Coriander Root, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Salt, Sugar and the Chilli Paste. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the Prawns, Mushrooms and Tomatoes and simmer for a further 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, ladle into bowls and garnish with the Coriander Leaves and Spring Onion.
(Remember to tell your guests that the only things they eat in the soup are the prawns, mushrooms and tomatoes (and the soup obviously!!)).

And to get you all in the mood for Thai.....here is the larger painting I did of Bangkok. It's much more red in real life (don't know why it's so orange in the photos) and it's going to hang above our fireplace in the living room.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Dinner Parties, Markets and Stonehenge

We had a busy old weekend this weekend!! Our lovely friend Onelia (Neils) came down from Manchester to visit us so my Friday was spent in a cooking frenzy!! I made Tom Yum Goong (Hot and sour spicy soup made with prawns) for a starter and followed that up with Kua Gling (Pork mince with loads of lemon grass, chilli and garlic), Penang Curry (Beef simmered in coconut milk and then cooked with loads of spices and coconut cream) and Jasmine rice. I managed to have everything prepared by the time she arrived so I got to spend some time with her rather than spend all my time in the kitchen!!.

Neils used to work with Chris so had arranged to meet with him at work and then the two of them travelled here. We gave her the grand tour of the house and then cracked open a bottle of bubbly and had a good old catch up as we'd not seen her for ages!! The weather was beautiful so we took her down to our local pub 'The Smoking Dog' for a couple of drinks before dinner (which was fab because she got to see Malmesbury at it's best). I'm happy to say that the meal turned out really well (I was a bit nervous as I'd never made Penang Curry before!!) and we ended up sitting up till the wee small hours drinking, chatting and generally having a really nice night!!

She headed off about lunchtime on Saturday so Chris and I went to the Veg Shed to stock up for the week and then when into Tetbury for a wee mooch about. We had a lovely relaxing afternoon....something to eat in one of the cafe's and then a look round the Saturday market. I ended up having a long chat about Thailand with a woman who makes her own jewellery...she was telling me how expensive she found buying Thai silver but then told me that she sourced it from Rome. I suggested that she might want to buy direct so she gave me her address and asked me to send her some information which I'll do later today.

Yesterday we decided to get up early and go visit Stonehenge as neither of us had ever been there!! It's rather impressive but I think I actually preferred Avesbury because you could get up close to the stones whereas Stonehenge is roped off. Still, we had fun walking round and taking lots of photo's and we had ice-cream then stopped off at one of Wiltshire's top 50 pubs for a drink on the way home. It was a lovely way to spend the day and then when we got home Chris cooked a Cottage Pie with garlic mash which was absolutely divine!! All in all we had a rather fab weekend.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Splat Photo's

They were particularly dozy yesterday afternoon so I took the opportunity to take a couple of snaps....normally they don't sit still long enough and I end up with blurs!!. Anyway, hope you like them :-)

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

One Sheet Of Paper

I came across these the other day and thought that they were just wonderful!! They are entries for an art competition at the Hirshorn Modern Art Gallery in DC and the rule was that each artist could only use one sheet of paper. There are some amazingly talented people out there....


I want the tree one!!!