An Odd Choice Of Gift

When being asked this year what I would like for a Christmas present I chose something that I've had my eye on for years, a siamese fighter (betta) fish. Judging by peoples reactions when I tell them that I am getting a fish, it seems to be an odd choice. The present is from my parents and Anders because it is not just the fish, it's the tank, heater, etc. which all adds up cost wise.
Before making my decision I looked on the internet at various web sites and forums for information about betta fish. While much of the information is the same there does seem to be some conflicting advice around. It has been the same in various pet shops that we have visited too. We asked about betta food in one shop because we couldn't see any to be told they don't have their own food, they just eat generic tropical flakes (I had already found out that you can purchase food especially for bettas, thats why I was looking). Anyway we came to the conclusion that some of the chain pet stores don't know a great deal and are happy to just make a sale. After visiting every local pet shop for the last three weekends, I managed to find an aquatic shop not too far from us so we nipped in for a look. It was the brilliant. By far the best selection of fish and equipment that we had seen. The staff were friendly and helpful and answered any questions that we asked. We set up the tank then when it had settled we returned to get some little catfish as tank mates for the betta. 

The fish that I chose were these Julii Corydoras. Cute little things with lovely markings. They seem to have settled in nicely and are very active, always zooming around the tank. They can do a thing with their eyes which makes them look like they are blinking at you. A bit of a shock to see at first considering fish don't have eye lids.

We picked up the betta fish this weekend (I've named him Scaramanga after a Christopher Lee character). I chose this one as I loved the colours and he seemed to have a larger tail than the other fish (we were told he was a half moon type). He was very alert, trying to fight with the betta fish in the next tank. 

As soon as he was placed in to our tank he went to investigate the plants straight away. Must all be a bit strange because the tanks in the shop were completely bare. He seems to like them and even lies down on them for a little rest. I'm hoping that I will be able to hand feed him as he comes straight to my fingertip if I place it in to the water, he's certainly not timid. I hope he doesn't mind a lot of attention, he's had a fair few admirers today (even if my Mum said he reminded her of a guppy)

The Boy's Room

At last we have finished redecorating the boy's bedroom. I did begin to sort through their belongings earlier on in the year and as they are older now (aged 19 and almost 18) they were willing to part with more stuff.

These were just the books the boys no longer wanted to keep, some of which we kept for Little L and the rest we dropped off at a charity shop.
It took a while for them to decide on a colour because they knew that they didn't want a shade of blue or green again but nothing else was springing to mind. I suggested grey and they both said no chance. I went off and returned with some colour cards and funnily enough they both chose grey and agreed on the same shade.

This was the old colour in the room ( the hole was caused by my eldest boy when he helped me to take some shelves down. A rawl plug had got stuck in to the wall and he thought the best way to remove it was to give it a big tug )

and this is what it looks like now. The shade is called Bottlenose Dolphin. We replaced the blind but the lampshade is their old one.

The geometric print bedding set was from Matalan.

Anders made this shelf unit for Caleb to display his bits and pieces.

Anders also made a new TV unit because previously the boys had a portable TV then when my eldest first started to work he bought this one and the old unit was far too small. Another reason why they needed a new one was because their old game consoles used to be stored in the loft but if Anders ever went up there for something one of the boys used to ask for one of them to be brought back down for them to play on. Over time they all ended up just shoved under their bed. The unit has made everything more accessible for them, given them a spot to store the laptops (I used to just tip toe around them on the floor) and cleared out under the bed.

Above the TV unit there used to be four shelves but with those removed Caleb had a space to put his Jaws poster back up. My sister bought it for him years ago and I can't see him ever getting rid of it. Caleb had some Zelda tea towels that he had got inside one of his arcade blocks so I purchased a black picture frame from Ebay and mounted one of them for him.
Now all the bedrooms have been done I love to peek in the rooms when I go upstairs. Next year we need to tackle to living room.

Crafty Catch Up

Lately craft wise I have been trying to use up my scraps of wool by crocheting some granny squares which I will be then be making in to a blanket. I still have a lot more to go to reach a blanket size.

Also I've been crocheting some little hats for The Big Knit campaign. The innocent drink company pop these little hats on to their smoothie bottles during Winter and for every bottle they sell which is wearing a hat they donate 25p to the Age UK charity. This time I made 40 to post off. Some free knitting and crocheting patterns to make the hats can be found here.
To me it doesn't look like I've been doing much but adding in Winter illnesses to fight off, Christmas shopping, a family Christening (it was lovely to catch up with family members that I hadn't seen for a long time) and decorating the boy's bedroom, I think we have just been more busier than usual here.

Crafting For Christmas

Over the past couple of months I've been making a few bits and bobs ready for Christmas. These are what I've made some far.

A poinsettia cushion. I have seen a few versions of these on Pinterest. The tutorial that I used can be found here.

Simple hearts using Christmas print fabric and free motion embroidery holly leaves. 

Some mini gingerbread men magnets for my Mum. 

A Father Christmas hanging decoration. The triangular Santa design is something else that I have seen in Pinterest. 

The hanger at the top is a curtain grommet covered with felt with all the bits and bobs glued on.

Royal British Legion Poppies

Recently the wool shop in my local town have been asking for knitters or crocheters to make some poppies for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal so popped in a couple of weeks ago to see what it was about.
The shop has been working with The Royal British Legion on the knitted/crocheted poppies. Both the patterns and the wool choice for making them has been approved. Everyone making the poppies has to use the same wool so they will be uniform and the patterns are free. Ten per cent of the profits from the wool is being donated to the Royal British Legion.
Once all the poppies have been handed to the shop some are going to be used in a Remembrance Day display at the Lion Salt Works Museum. After this they will have brooch backs attached then be sold to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

The black wool used for the centre is glittery with different colours running through it.

I tried both the knitted and crocheted pattern but everyone in my house preferred the crocheted version so I stuck to that pattern.

In total I made 22 which I dropped in to the shop this week. They're not sure how many they have yet, it sounded like quite a lot though so I hope they hit their target number.

Art Deco Architecture

Yesterday we took a quick drive out to Sale so Anders could pick up a new guitar amp. Luckily I had put my camera in the car because we spotted some lovely Art Deco buildings on the way and stopped on the journey home to take some pics.

The first building we looked at was the Mecca bingo hall. Originally it was a Lido and the pool used to be covered to use as a dance floor.

The next building, The Pyramid Theatre opened in 1934. Since opening it has been an Odeon cinema, a nightclub and a fitness centre. I loved this building. Even through the garish paint you could still see hidden details. I found a lot of information about the theatre's design here.

Sourced From Cinema Treasures
While searching the internet about this building I found this old photo. Doesn't it look fabulous? ... it reminds me of old Hollywood films

I haven't found out what has been happening to the building after 2013. Looking at the dust it clearly hasn't been used for quite some time though. The main door was left gaping open and after popping my head inside for a quick nosey I saw that the next set of doors were also open. Little L was all for going inside to explore but there was no chance of that. Who knows who was inside there. I hope that whoever is in possession of the theatre sorts out the security before the interior gets vandalised.

So far I have not been able to find out anything about this building at all on the internet. Nothing at all, not even an old photograph. 

Just around the corner from the unknown building I spotted this detail above some shops.
What started off as what I thought to be a mundane trip turned out to be a great afternoon after all.

Spooky Sewing

Having a couple of hours spare before Little L was due home from school today I wanted to try and fit in a quick project. With Halloween almost here I decided on making the character Oogie Boogie from one of my favourite films, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I settled on this character because he isn't very detailed and I knew that I already had suitable materials.

The fabric I used for the body is from some old curtains that belonged to my Mum. The eyes, mouth and slit in the tummy were cut from black felt and sewn on by sewing machine. I then used embroidery thread to make stitches around his mouth and tummy slit. A line of straight stitch was sewn all the way around followed by a row of zig zag stitch. I did this because the fabric is a quite loose weave and frays a lot. I chose to sew the body parts together this way because I wanted him to have a bit of a tatty look to him. The little plastic spiders were attached using a hot glue gun.

Horror Film Festival

The day I'd been waiting weeks for was finally here. Sunday morning I was up and about, slapping on my make up at 7:30 getting ready to go to our first horror film festival, Grimmfest. The event was held at The Printworks in Manchester which took us about an hour to drive to. The parking cost £5.50 for 24hrs and was only about a 5 minute walk away from the cinema. Stalls were set up selling t-shirts, dvds, posters, etc. 

The nice people from SHUDDER (which is a new horror streaming service) were giving away t shirts for signing up. Anders did and when they asked if I wanted to as well I explained that I'd already done it online so they gave me one as well.
The first film was being shown at 10:20 and to be honest I wasn't particularly fussed if we got there on time or not because it didn't look like my kind of thing. 

The film was called Darling and I'm so glad we did get there early enough to view it because it turned out to be both mine and Anders' favourite film of the day. 
 Beyond The Gates was the next to be shown but this one we missed because we nipped out to get some food.
Tonight She Comes was the next that we saw and then we stuck around for the Q & A after the film with the director, Matt Stuertz. Anders really liked the music score for this as it reminded him of 1980's horror films.
This was followed by The Rezort, a British zombie film. The director, Steve Barker and writer, Paul Gerstenberger were present after for a Q & A session. (We didn't stay for this, not because we didn't want to hear what they had to say but after staying for one Q & A session found that we then only had about 15 minutes at the most for drinks, toilet breaks, etc before back in the cinema to find seats again. The organiser did say that it was a jam packed day to get everything in)
Villmark Asylum, a Norwegian film was the next to be shown. I love foreign horror films so I was looking forward to this one.
The Rift was the last film of the day (I had sore eyes and a bit of bum ache at this point) followed by a live Skype Q & A with Ken Foree.
We were also treated to an unofficial trailer for Habit, a British horror set in Manchester. From what I saw I can't wait to watch this one after it's release.
The organisers were having a bit of an after party and said everyone was quite welcome to join them which I thought was very good of them(out of the question for us though due to travelling home)
We arrived home around 11:30 and ordered a pizza before everywhere began to close for the night. I think that  Anders surprised himself by managing to sit through so many films as he can be quite fidgety but we've both said how we definitely want to go to next year's Grimmfest, maybe bringing our eldest boy along too.

Korean Beauty Products

My love of Korean beauty products began with one hand cream because I was drawn to the cute packaging and now it looks like a teenage girl has begun to take over my dressing table. Cuteness aside I really like most of the products that I've tried.

I usually buy my products via Ebay but I've recently discovered the Kawaii Panda beauty box which sends only Korean beauty products. As far as I'm aware this is the only box of this kind available in the UK. The box includes five full size items and is priced at £18 plus £3.20 p+p. 

I thought I'd try it out and my September box arrived today. These are the items for this month.

CELRANICO Green Tea Seed Oil Balancing Essence

Tangle Jelly Mask

A'PIEU Sweet Tea Lip Balm


Fresh Cup Strawberry Smoothie Modeling Mask

SKINFOOD My Short Cake Setting Mascara

I'm pleased with the items that I received especially the smoothie modeling mask as I've been wanting to try this. I looked up the prices on Ebay for these items and while there is not a massive saving on the products like you can get with some beauty boxes I don't see that as a negative because it's something not readily available in UK high street shops, it is conveniently delivered to your door plus the import tax has already been paid.
As well as the beauty box, Kawaii Panda have recently began to sell individual items via their website.

So Excited

I can't contain my excitement this week as we have purchased some tickets to Grimmfest, a horror film festival. I know horror isn't everyone's cup of tea but it is our favourite film genre. Neither of us have been before because it was hard for us to find a sitter for Little L but that's all sorted for this year.

This year Grimmfest is taking place October 6th-9th at the ODEON Printworks in Manchester (that's not too far for us to travel). The festival has all categories of horror films covered ... the full line up can be found here. Ken Foree is one of the special guests with others being announced closer to the festival time. Tickets can be purchased for the full event, day passes and individual films.
I can't wait .. I don't even think I get this excited on the run up to Christmas.

A Day In Llandudno

To take advantage of the good weather we've been having so late in to Summer we spent this Sunday in Llandudno. It seemed lots of other people had the same idea as it was quite busy.

We headed to the pier first of all then walked up to Happy Valley gardens. On a previous visit we walked past the park but have never wandered in. 

The views of the sea are amazing due to the park being on a slope.
Dotted about the town are wooden carvings of Alice In Wonderland characters. This is because Llandudno has links to a girl named Alice who is thought to be the inspiration for the character. The carvings are numbered and you can follow a trail to find them all. We didn't do this but found some in the park.

The caterpillar,

white rabbit

and a table ready for the mad hatters tea party.

A brass band began to play and we noticed even the band stand was decorated with characters.
Little L was a bit disappointed that we didn't manage a paddle in the sea because we headed for home earlier than we normally would due to school the next day. 

As we were leaving Llandudno we spotted this old building and stopped to take some photos.

 At first we did think that it was derelict but after looking more closely noticed that the doors weren't too shabby and bins around the back looked pretty new. A man appeared and began tidying up some litter as I was taking photos so I asked about the building and was told it was still in use for music events three times a week. I'm glad it's still in use and not like so many old buildings that I've seen which have just left to rot away.