Gorgeous Glasgow – Dusking in Glory

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cloud border I developed a desire to take photography seriously about a year ago, I’ve now got a super swish camera that was a birthday gift and I’ve been reading through a book (slowly). However probably the most important thing I’ve done is start to wander around and look at things through a ‘photographic lens’. I walk down the same route up to 4 or 5 times a day, dropping monkey off to nursery and heading back to university then doing the same in reverse in the evening. I’m discovering that dusk is really the most beautiful and interesting time (certainly on this street), and by framing the shot through the many houses, churches and trees there are some sumptuous scenes to view – the book agrees with me about the time of day, so it’s nice to know my artistic preferences conform to some photographic standard at this point. If you see someone wandering around the West End looking at everything except the path in front then it’s probably me.

I’ve also discovered that no matter how good your camera is, it’s only any use if you carry it with you ALL the time. I can’t do this (yet). I don’t have a case for it and I’m worried about damage. I’m realising that the camera phone is still of all importance sometimes. I always have it on me and it’s always within easy reach. These photos were taken on the phone. I think they still turn out pretty good considering, but it’s the iPhone 4 and I don’t think the camera is noteworthy in any way. I think the next time I change my phone I will purposefully go for the one with the best camera as sometimes it’s the only way to get *that* shot in front of you right now.

I’m particularly enjoying exploring landscapes and night scenes, clouds, geographic stuff. I’m also thinking wildlife would suit me. This would all tie in very nicely with travelling too of course :) Hopefully over the coming months you will start to see a big improvement in my photographic posts – that’s the aim anyway.

With these shots, I got totally captured by the way the clouds were looking – it was a completely transitory scene, changing from second to second. The wee crescent moon was beautiful, peeking through the trees too. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting some full moon shots with the new camera this month.

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Trentham Gardens – a fairy sculpture walk

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Situated in Stoke On Trent, Trentham Gardens are probably overlooked as a source of beauty and inspiration. But as these photos hopefully show, it is definitely worth a visit. A large area of countryside, surrounding a beautiful lake, with stunning metal sculptures of fairies to spot as you walk around. There’s a wee boat to take you back if you only manage halfway round the lake – a bonus if like me you have small children. There’s also a really large children’s play area set in the woods at one corner of the park. Before you enter there’s a huge array of nearby restaurants, cafes and shops. The entrance fee is about £7 for a commission and £9 for general entry but passes are available and I do think it’s worth a visit once. The money is being put to good use in conserving this lovely natural ecosystem.

Monkey Forest is also close by – a smaller version of its Dorset counterpart. I plan on taking my own wee monkey in the summer when we’re back in the area.

More info here: http://www.trentham.co.uk/trentham-gardens

http://www.trentham-monkey-forest.com/information.php?id_cat=1

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Gorgeous Glasgow – Botanic Beauty

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The Botanics are situated on the corner of Queen Margaret Drive and Great Western Road. A large open space with several glass buildings that house the usual large variety of botanical plants. The most notable of these is Kibble Palace. I love coming here in the winter. It’s warm and cosy and if you get a rare sunny, but crisp, cold day it’s ‘almost’ like summer. Outdoors there’s more to see and you can get down to the River Clyde from inside the gardens. It gets pretty packed out in summer but in the winter it’s relatively peaceful even on weekends. My wee monkey loves running round the indoor botanics and then heading out for a trip to the swings in the decent kids play park.

There are also tons of events put on all year round. A Shakespeare production called ‘bard at the botanics’ and The Electric Gardens light show are worth seeing. There’s also art classes, book fairs and a Children’s Garden to encourage kids to be interested in gardening and growing things in general. You’ll find a tearoom and food kiosk too although I think the kiosk is Spring and Summer only. Worth a visit if you come to Glasgow.

More info here: www.glasgowbotanicgardens.com

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Gorgeous Glasgow – seeing the light through stormy skies

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Dosirakbento 1 year blogging!

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backpacksandbabygrows:

Monday morning bunnies I think….

Originally posted on dosirakbento:

Can’t believe it’s 1 year ago that I started this blog!

My first post featured some onigiri bunnies, so of course I wanted to recreate them again for this anniversary. Because it’s also Valentine, I added some carrot hearts to show that these bunnies are in LOVE…

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When I started blogging, I didn’t imagine that I would still be blogging one year later. I actually started my blog a bit on a whim, without any clear thoughts or goals. I just thought it would be fun to have photos of the lunches that I was making for myself, partly because the evidence got all eaten :-P …so a photo diary would keep track of my creations, and partly because I thought blogging about it would challenge myself to come up with some more creative lunches.

I had always been interested in Japanese and Korean food, and after I had seen some bento blogs…

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Gorgeous Glasgow – Heavenly Skies

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IMG_1951 Just a short post today to share the beauty of Glasgow on a sunny, crisp morning. This is a photo I took this morning of the well known Cottiers. A West End bar, restaurant and theatre set in a beautiful converted church. Good food, family friendly (there’s even a family funday every Sunday 1pm-4pm) and interesting performances – what more do you want? Well worth a visit if you’re in the area. More info can be found here: http://www.cottiers.com

Bento by Trial and Error

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It’s been an enormously long time since my last proper post! One thing I’ve definitely learnt these past few months is that single parenting, full time study for the final year of my degree and blogging aren’t really a good mix. However somewhere IMG_1804I have found the time to become increasingly infatuated with creating bento boxes for the wee monkey. She’s a notoriously picky eater, but one day we were watching My Neighbour Totoro (one of her favourite films) and the wee character May has a bento box made by her sister. So it gave me the idea of trying one out on the monkey to see if it encouraged her to take an interest in food a bit more. It’s fiddly but once you have the right equipment it’s actually quite straightforward. Below are some of my early creations, and they can be deemed a huge success as the monkey has gone from picking listlessly at what’s in front of her to eating every last bit. Cute (kawaii) lunch boxes are the way forward! :)

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So first of all – the kit you need. Metal biscuit cutters are great as they create great sandwiches quickly and double up as moulds to fry American style pancakes in too. Available widely and cheaply these days but definitely on Amazon if you don’t have baking shops nearby, we’ve got dinosaurs, hearts, flowers, easter themed ones (that came free with a magazine), so a bunnies and chicks and gingerbread men in a  range of sizes. Also get a set of cutters that are flower shaped or similar that go from very small to quite large. Great for creating nice colours and shapes in the box. I totoro boxalso found surprisingly cheap imports of bento box equipment from Hong Kong on Amazon. Panda shaped moulds for sushi rice and cutters for nori paper to create little faces were one of the things I found.  Small animal shaped cutters and intricate faces to go with them which include plastic tweezers and a pin to assist (sounds fiddly, I know but if done the night before it’s not took bad I promise!). Egg moulds are really easy to find on Amazon too very cheap. I also found little tooth picks with pandas and animals on which you use to display blueberries or edamame beans. A bento box is also pretty essential. I found the stacked square Totoro box to be the best style as it allows for more pictorial displaying of the food. You can group items together and stack things neatly in rows using silicon cupcake cases in bright colours too. Some of the boxes below have been created just with biscuit cutters and silicon cupcakes cases and the bento box itself so I’d say those 3 are your bare minimum things that you need. I’ve also just started to arrange things on her plate nicely and use the cutters for most food now as it’s easy and she loves it.

IMG_1829A big part of the bento box is just displaying things neatly and in contrasting colours in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, Stacking carrots next to cucumber sticks and making sure they’re the same length – an easy way to make things look a lot better! Also display sandwiches and rice shapes on curly lettuce. Hopefully the pictures below will be self explanatory and just give some really simple ideas of how to start. There’s far more elaborate bento boxes around but I think these simple ones are a great start if you want to try and entice a picky eater to start eating a big array of food. There’s always a big mix of foods in the boxes and monkey doesn’t seem to mind. I put broccoli and carrot with edamame beans and blueberries, raspberries and oranges, kiwis, there’s always sandwiches and sometimes little pancakes (no sugar). I’ve done cold potato shapes with cheese faces that look really cute.

The egg moulds are also great, although it’s definitely been trial and error with these. 6 moulds arrived in a bag from Hong Kong with no instructions at all – being an idiot I thought the eggs would go in raw so spent ages gaffing about trying that. Don’t! it doesn’t work… you boil a large egg (it says medium but I don’t agree large is much better). You then run it under cold water to allow you to peel the shell off although the actual egg should still be hot. You then place it in the mould and soak in cold water for a minimum of 15 minutes. It would have helped if they’d said all that but the journey of discovery and mess was worth it. Teddy bear shaped eggs are very cute!

Nori paper is probably the fiddliest thing you have to deal with. I don’t use it all the time as I’m in a rush in the morning but it is great for doing faces on rice items! I hope this helps people see how easy bento boxes are though, biscuit cutters and patience are probably the only things you need :)

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