Sunday, 28 October 2012

Food Glorious Food!

That was definately the theme to todays outing to the Durham Food Festival and what glorious food did we see, taste and bring home!

Always a fantastic outing, especially if youre anything like me and adore food (though you would'nt think it if you saw me, im a little skinny thing, but LOVE my food).

One person more excited than me was my partner Dave, after having been to Paris two years ago for my 40th at Christmas time we were lucky enough to experience their fantastic Christmas Market down the Champs Elysee.  Here it was that Dave tasted la tartiflette, potatoes, with reblochon cheese lardons and onions for the very first time and now everytime there is a food market in Durham we make it a must to visit so he can get his 'fix'.  Thankfully they didnt disappoint and Dave came away very happy.....

Even so more once we had found the cidre stalls in the Marquee up on Castle Green... he managed a taster and had a sneaky half whilst we watched the chefs demo (more on that later) and treated himself to a few bottles to bring home.

 Me, I treated myself to the most sumptuous piece of  handmade nougat, nothing like that pink and white stuff you buy in the shops that dares to call itself only having one very small piece at a time as im sure if i ate quite a bit id be trying to detach myself from the ceiling with the amount of sugar in it, it does have rapberries in so that may cancel it out, but im sure its all good for you ;-)
 As well as the stalls up on Castle Green in the marquees (there was a small cover charge to enter) there were some stalls down in the market place.  The smells of all the gorgeous, warm food being cooked overwhelmed you as you approached and you were spoilt for choice as what to have. As previously mentioned Dave had the french potatoes, me i went for the Spanish Beef Stew, which was very heart warming and definately warmed me cockles up!
After walking around the stalls several times we made a decision, its a hard one when theres so much scrumptious food to choose from.
Sweeties...for the kids, well Dave and Brandon
Olives a plenty...
Beautiful Greek and Turkish delights...

To name but a few stalls, but we choose some tasty french rustic bread to go with possibly the best tasting  balsamic vinegar ever!  

Well that almost sums up my Sunday, was a lovely relaxing, food fuelled day which id really been looking forward to, especially as the past two weeks have been a real struggle for me, having just been diagnosed with underactive thyroid.  I know that this isnt life threatening but at the moment for me is very life changing, trying to manage the tiredness and lack of motivation especially as im always on the go and have so many projects and things to do, so much that i had to cancel a dry stone walling taster day i was due to go on last week.  Hopefully the medication that im on now will kick in and i will get back to normality, just really struggling with the tireness.
One last thing to make you smile this Sunday.... Jean Christophe Novelli..

He was demoing in the Marquee, hence i guess the cover charge, but hey it was worth it, he's demoing skills may have been a bit hectic but was nice to watch ;-), and yep definately as handsome in the flesh as on tv (i have a thing for French men).

Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Sam x

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Just vaseline the lens...

... well if its not looking too good this is what you do if you want a good pic - some advice i was given today at The Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Crafts House, you can see some pics of the lovely food over at Blueberry Heart, from the lovely Kerry from Blueberry Heart who was my Autumn Blog Swop.  As we live quite close to each other we thought it would be nice to put faces to names, meet up at a fantastic event and my favourite place and swop, we were good though and didnt open them until we got home.

This actually took place at the end of September but its been a bit hectic and ive also been away since to my very first UK Facepainting Convention...but more of that later. Now back to my swop...

This was the first blog swop id ever done and was quite nervous about what and how much to put in, but as anyone who knows me, knows i always get carried away, but how nice is it to give pressie... i love it!

The theme was autumn and reading through Kerry's blog i managed to get a few ideas of what she was a bit like a scavenger hunt, trawling through crafty bits to see what i could make or the shops to see what i could include.

I forgot to take pics of a couple of things so i will try and describe as best as.

Firstly the basket of goodies that i put together.

The first thing i got was a piece of blue agate whilst we were away on holiday in Scotland from the Gem Rock Museum in Dumfries.  Kerry loves the Tiffany blue and when its held up to the light the colour is stunning.

Ive also been making a line of gifts for crafters over at Tinks Things so for inspiration i put a little heart in with the quote 'Do something creative every day'

I also put in a mini needlefelt kit, including a needle, some felt and some bits to get started as well as a piece of sponge (i couldnt fit this in!) along with some needlefelted acorns that i made to give some inspiration....

As you can see i made gift tags for each item...told you i always go overboard...but i do really love just making and giving!

Just one of the needlefelted acorns in amongst lovely felted flowers and butterflys in autumn colours
Thankfully Blueberry Heart took some better pics of the acorns...
I also had some small frames from Primark that i bought a while back and was wondering what to with them, this was the perfect opportunity to try something new... a button pumpkin!

I also put in some Cath Kidston bath crystals for a little spoiling along with some Yankee Candles in autumnal scents, some paper tissues with '"I've shopped all my life and still I have nothing to wear..." quote on, perfect for decoupage!  pair of warm soft socks covered in little hearts, a edible crystal skull from Hotel Chocolat (my favourite sweetie shop) along with a selection of flavoured hot chocolates for those cold and long autumn evenings.. and possibly the most simplest gift, one id seen elsewhere on the internet, a Autumn Photo List, this one i just changed (was American so not always compatible with us) to suit, designed all the artwork and printed off!

Think i might have to do one myself and put the results on here!

As mentioned i also did gift tags for all the pressie...heres a few of the ones i did take photos of but please pop over to Blueberry Heart to see the ones i didnt.

Phew...well thats the things i sent now to the gorgeous gifts that i received.

Im sat there like a little girl at Christmas with lots of surprises and camera at hand...oh and i had to call Dave in to share it as well :-))

All the gifts were wrapped in lovely stripey colourful paper...and smelling stunning...

with these gorgeous little pumpkins scattered in..i love these soooo much, need to get me some!

So on with the goodies...

Im quite sad really i laid them all out and went down the line, very controlled i must say!

The first i opened was this gorgeous hand cross stitched acorn cushion smelling divine and even better with sparkly thread!

Then this lovely hand made bracelet in gorgeous autumnal colours in a sweet little bag.

These sparkly gloves and if you know me you will know how i love my gloves, suffering from Raynauds i even carry them in my bag in the summer! I also received a handcovered notebook which i took with me to the UK Face an Body Painting Convention where i doodled and noted throughout the week!

Yummy hand made lemon biscuits and scrumption hot chocolate.

A beautiful handmade pumpkin wreath with bay leaves which is now adorning my light and fits right in with my colour scheme as we have predominantly oranges in the living room!  This will be staying up all year round. A lovely seasonal scented tealight.

The most stunning garland ever, lots of detail, glitter  and colour and looks gorgeous hung on my door!

Again thanks to Kerry for a fantastic swop, it definately made me think out of the box and delve into that craft stash of mine. Hope to meet up with you again soon, no doubt at The Crafts House.

Sam x

Friday, 24 August 2012

A little bit excited...

Yep a little bit excited as tomorrow we're off to Scotland for a well deserved weeks holiday.

We've hired this little cottage just on the edge of the Galloway Forest, theres myself, my partner Dave and my son Brandon going and we've lots to look forward too!  Dave works in Dumfries & Galloway so has been reccying lots for us to do, including visiting Kagyu Samye Ling - a Tibetan Buddhist Centre.

Myself and Dave have been to before and loved the place, so   Im not regligious and dont really follow a faith but this place seems magical, there just seems a tranquil, peaceful feel about it, really can't explain i think its something that you have to go and see for yourself.

Were also going to hopefully go and see some Red Kites feeding, as part of a breeding programme for these stunning birds, definately a perfect photo opportunity as well as having a go at the UK's longest zip slide, at 820meteres i cant wait, yep im some sort of  height freak!  Ive done quite a few aerial courses including the 100ft high one at the Climbing Centre in Edinburgh and a zip slide of the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, at 225ft high over the River Tees the vertical climb, well it felt like one was the worst part,  though i found this one a bit slow!
So the cars all loaded, just need to put my paints and some of my new brushes in that i received today from the amazing Kyla over at Limelight Co, Australia. She held a competition on facebook that i entered along with a lot of over facepainters and as usual you think youve not got a chance of winning so you can guess the surprise at winning this set of fantastic brushes, especially as theyve just more or less hit our shores here in UK.  So ive decided to split them, the more petite, finer brushes i will use with my acrylic painting for Tinks Things and the rest for my face painting with Tinks Faces.

Sorry its not a great pic, taken on Blackberry with very shaky hand, think it was the excitement :-))
Ooh and one more for today.  Dont know if you remember but ive been following Blueberry Heart blog and decided that id join the Autumn/Halloween swap, well today i found out my partner for whom im to swap a box of goodies with, and its none other than the lovely Blueberry Heart lady herself, Kerry!  So im now off on a hunt for some gorgeous bits and got lots of ideas of lovely things to make! But sorry im not going to tell as i know she follows my blog and would hate to spoil the surprise.
So hope you all have a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend whatever youre doing and ill pop back soon!
Sam x 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Not a bad day considering....

Well after a bit of a let down  this afternoon my day has ended off with the most gorgeous sunset but more about that later.

I was booked in this evening to face paint at a wedding at Brancepeth Castle. So had spent all day ensuring kit was clean and everything was shipshape for the gig.  For some reason id had a funny feeling about this one, dont ask what it was there was just something. Anyway waved bye to Dave with the promise of supper when i came in (was due in about 10) and headed off, thankfully Brancepeth is only about a 15 minute drive from where i live.

Drove down the drive to the Castle and was starting to get a bit alarmed about the lack of cars in the car park, maybe they're parked somewhere else i thought. Walked through the grounds to the main entrance were the silence was deafining, maybe theyre in marquee out the back i was thinking or maybe not! Anyway a yound lad answered the door, i explained i was booked for a wedding party giving the brides name, nope no wedding tonight, though we did have one last week but he couldnt recall the name, really, right, just that ive been booked for the 18th August!

Mmmm maybe id got the date wrong, nope my booking process is one that sends them the date that they asked for, leaving blanks in for them to fill additional details so they have to read the date to get to the next item. Maybe the wedding didnt go ahead, in which case it would have been nice to have been notified, especially as id turned down several bookings for todays date, knowing that i was out most of the evening.

Anyway lets not dwell on that as i wont be chasing it up! 
But one thing is that i was able to spend much more needed time with Dave (my partner) as he works away Monday to Friday in Scotland.

So one phone call later, quick change of clothes, camera in bag and off to take photos.

As you may i know i became the proud owner of a Canon EOS 550D, a gift from Dave, and neither of us have any camera knowledge at all, well not the technical stuff.

Where to?  Luckily we live in the most gorgeous part of the North East, Durham...theres so many places to explore that we are spoilt for choice, so much gorgeous landscape that you cant always take it all in... so we popped up to Waskerley, for those that dont know the area, just imagine vast heather moorlands as far as the eye can see and the most amazing views.

Theres a little reservoir that weve been to before and is stunning!

Lovely friendly residents....

No one around for miles...bliss!

Except some crazy blonde, ahh that be me then.

After a lovely afternoon playing with camera we then stopped off at Stanhope for fish and chips, felt like a real tourist sat on bench in square eating them in the sun.
 Yep we do get the sun up here in the North.

And to top it off the first stunning sunset, now i know the summer is coming to an end and that the amazing autumn colours, sunsets and rises are around the corner.
Oh yeah we managed to find an extra to pose in our pics, one of the neighbours cats sat on the fence post waiting for supper in the fields where we live

Hope you too have a nice, chilled weekend

Sam x

Friday, 17 August 2012

You paint BUMPS...

Thats the normal reaction i get when i tell people that as a face and body painter i also do gestational painting (bumps).  Not everyones cup of tea  I know but for those that i do get the privilege to paint it is a special experience and one that i see celebrates pregnancy and is of course a gorgeous keepsake for after when that special bundle of joy has appeared.

What sort of things do i paint on them... well anything they want!  It may be something special and meaningful to them, inspiration from a painting, anything really... but each and everyone will always come with spots (my little trademark in face and body painting) and glitter.

Does the baby like it...of course! Usually they stay fast asleep, but sometimes you get the odd foot and hand moving out, which normally happens just as ive put the brush to skin and i get the random squiggle :-))

Why do people get it done... from the ladies ive painted its a keepsake of their pregnancy and normally something to surprise their partners with... you wouldnt believe how many 'flash' their husbands after the painting.  Ive painted at baby showers, whilst their partners and children have been their, usually  painting the little ones as well so theyre included in the experience and even when i working both full time and any face painting jogs, impromptu paintings usually quite fun (have a look at the halloween one).

Monday, 13 August 2012

Autmn/Halloween Swap...

Have been following this blog at Blueberry Heart for a while and love it, especially as theres a 'Autumn/Halloween Swap'.  Ive seen these on lots of blogs and never joined in, probably because i didnt have a blog. Anyway ive signed up for this and cant wait to start gathering and making gifts for it.  So if youve never done one, well join me in my first, id say the more the merrier!

Sunday, 12 August 2012


Well i got home yesterday to find that my gorgeous boyfriend had a surprise for me...something that i have wanted for ages but never seem to find the spare money to buy... this ....

....a Canon EOS 550D.  Ive wanted a 'proper' camera for ages, especially now that im selling my bits and pieces and more so for my face and bump painting. Also i just love taking photos, doesnt always matter what the subject is but i love nature and architecture. Im quite lucky as i work full time in a park with a gorgeous lake, wildlife and now we have some watersports with the likes of kayaking, sailing, be prepared for some, if not lots of my new pics.

Here Goes...

Well heres my very first post on my very first blog, feels quite scary!

Im hoping that i can share with you the things i create, my ideas and hopefully share lots of things that i like and hopefully you will too!

A little about me… i live in a little village in Durham, England with my partner and my son. Apart from the human loves of my life my next one is crafting, especially painting… im a professional face painter with my own business and for the past year have also been painting wooden bits in decorative painting style amongst others – think im finding my niche now.

My inspiration comes from all around, especially nature and architecture and i love taking photos of flowers, insects anything really whilst im out and about, especially where i work… a bit more about that later…

Ive just found out after many years that i now like to bake, sweet stuff of course, so unfortunately you will be subjected to my successess and failures (well the burnt bits) of my journey through the sweet stuff.

I hope you stay around and keep popping in.
Samantha (Sam) x