Day 215 – A little bit of black (and white) magic

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Day 215 – Oct 18th

If there’s one thing little missy loves, it’s a bottle of warm milk before before bed, is asignificant featured her bedtime routine, but the simple fact is that she is not far from her second birthday, and I don’t think we’re going to be seeing these bottles for much longer. 

It’s not that we are desperate to take them off her, but they have to reach a natural end at some point and I think we’re getting close. She’s still having a bottle in the morning before breakfast, and I think that’ll be the first to go as we can easily replace that with breakfast itself, although the bedtime one may take a little longer as we scratch our heads trying to remember how we handled this situation with Olivia.

I grabbed this quick photo as I thought she looked so peaceful and calm in front of the TV drinking her milk, although when I reviewed the picture later on, it didn’t seem particularly special, it was just another photo and needed a little something doing to it. Some photos look nice in black and white, others just seem to leap off the screen when you remove the colour from the scene. This, for me, felt like one of the latter. 

How often do you make our photos black and white?

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Day 214 – If I can’t win today, maybe I’ll win tomorrow

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Day 214 – Oct 17th

A 365 project can be a tricky thing, some days you don’t feel as inspired as others. One of the hardest things is trying to find inspiration in a routine. The daily work schedule leaves little time for spontaneity, and having two small children at home who want attention as soon as I walk in the door, need to eat at the same time each day, go to bed at the same time each day and often need a bath at the same time most days, it doesn’t leave a lot of room to go out and get creative. I do the best I can with the little time I have, and sometimes I do wish I just had a little more time to commit to this project. Shots of the girls can feel like a bit of a cop out sometimes, whilst I love capturing them daily, it doesn’t feel like I am pushing my creativity to its full potential. On saying that though, it has definitely helped me create some amazing shots of the girls, especially when there is always a camera around and they are used to having one pointed at them without the usual “stand there… smile… no, look at me!” commands that often comes with photographing young children who would rather do anything else other than stand still!

Day 213 – When the wind blows

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Day 213 – Oct 16th

Yeah, I’d seen the reports about hurricane Ophelia trying to lay claim to the UK and that it could all get a bit crazy, but as I looked out of the window on Monday morning I was just a bit concerned that it was raining a little bit, and I didn’t really want to cycle to work in the rain… I mean who would?! Other than that… no signs of any such hurricane whatsoever!

We’d treated ourselves to a cheeky Sunday night Chinese takeaway and so I had been totally guilted (by no-one other than myself) into cycling to work on Monday morning when I would have otherwise have taken the motorbike in. I’ve now committed myself to cycling three days a week to keep my fitness up, but take the motorbike on a Monday and a Friday. As I finished packing my bag up ready to leave the house I looked out again and with some relief noticed that the rain had completely stopped, and so I set off.

Then by lunchtime, as predicted, it all went a bit crazy!

The winds picked up, the sun was almost blocked out by Saharan sand being whipped up in the crazy weather, it almost seemed to turn day into night… during the middle of the day! The sun had gone a weird red/orange colour and people were beginning to get a bit freaked out by it!

Finally everyone realised the world was NOT actually ending when the high level sand storm cleared and the sun continued to shine, back to its normal brightness throwing shadows across the floor. The one thing that didn’t subside was the wind, it was clearly not the nightmare that Scotland and Ireland were experiencing, but it was still quite wild, especially when you had to contend with the notion of cycling home in it!

Strangely it had also been a rather peculiar 21ºC today, very un-autumn like, so at least it stopped the wild winds that were whipping you about from side to side a little less like the icy blast of an air conditioner! I did opt to abandon my usual ride down the main road, and stick to a quieter, but slower side road so there was less traffic to be buffeted into if it all got a bit hairy. My usual route is a straight run and can take me as little as 20 minutes door-to-door on my way to work, but the road can get quite narrow and the traffic can be crazy at times. Sometimes you have to realise that taking a slower route may be the difference between getting home a little later, or getting home at all!

How did hurricane Ophelia affect you?

Day 212 –

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Day 212 – Oct 15th

The busy weekend continues, and we begin Sunday with a visit to see some friends ahead of the arrival of their second baby. I say “we” in a fairly loose sense, as me and the girls had left the wife at home on her own to recover from not just a night on the prosecco with her friends, but also not crawling in until the early hours! 

It was nice to see our friends, they are part of our antenatal group of friends, and so their daughter and Olivia are the same age and enjoy playing together. It will be really nice if they continued to stay friends as they grew up, although of course they will end up going to different schools, and may not see each other that often, but as an antenatal group, even four and a half years on, we are all still good friends and seem to be doing a pretty good job of keeping in touch with each other.

Olivia had been invited to a birthday party by one of her nursery friends, which was due to start straight after lunch, so after getting home from seeing our friends there was just time to grab our towel and swimming clothes things before we headed out again, as this was a swimming party. I’d not heard of one before, but this is now the second time we have been to one. Its at a sports centre that I have driven past countless times, but never knew existed. The swim is lovely as its an hour in a mood lit hydrotherapy pool, meaning the water is lovely and warm, then after getting changed we have an hour in the party room where the kids play and tuck into party food. The party happened to completely clash with Chloe’s nap time, and so she stayed behind at home for a snooze, meaning it was just me and Olivia. We weren’t entirely sure of the party etiquette regarding smaller siblings when it comes to parties anyway. I am sure no-one would have minded too much, but you don’t want to take liberties.

As a child, it seems like a pretty fun day, and as a parent it wasn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday either.

How did you spend yours?

Day 211 – Its nice when you don’t expect these things

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Day 211 – Oct 14th

It was one of those weekends again where we hadn’t given much consideration to it, but when it actually arrived, we seemed to have an awful lot squeezed in. Saturday started with Olivia’s dance class again, which she is still enjoying a lot. I took the opportunity to take Chloe for a little walk around a nearby park, as generally me and Chloe don’t get a huge amount of time alone together.

With dance class done and everyone home, I needed to be ready for a lift down to Halfpenny Green Airport near Kinver. My friend had some family down there who owned stunt driving experience business and we’d won an experience for two on a raffle. I was actually the back up for the day as my friends brother, who was supposed to be going instead, had shown absolutely no interest in it, and so consequently I knew very little about what was actually going to be happening until we were almost there. I hadn’t even really considered that I might be driving, and performing crazy stunt manoeuvres. Good job I had brought my driving glasses with me, it would have been quite a different experience without them!

The day involved handbrake turns, spinning the cars round in donuts, driving on two wheels, amongst other things and although we were late and missed the drivers briefing, each stunt was explained to us well and most were demonstrated before they let us jump in the drivers seat. It really was quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, when I’d only been really aware I was going the day before. It had been mentioned very briefly in the pub a couple of weeks ago, while I was tired and after a few beers, so it comes as no surprise that it pretty much went straight out of my head almost as soon as I’d been told about it.

Saturday night was also one of the rare evenings that the wife was heading out into town for drinks with friends, I was quite happy to sit in on my own, but at my last trip out to the pub with my friend when he’d mentioned the stunt drive experience in very casual passing, I also came across a large number of great films that he hadn’t seen that I had in my collection, and so we agreed on arranging a movie night with a few beers, to start ticking off some of these films, and we kicked off with The Martian. I love the film, but was quite surprised at how well it was received. Movie night was a hit and we hadn’t spent a fortune at the pub either!

What a nice way to spend a Saturday!

Day 210 – Friday the 13th, who is it actually unlucky for?

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Day 210 – Oct 13th

Ah yes, the most infamous date in the world rolls around yet again, sending fear through the hearts of the most superstitious, those who are convinced that they are just one step away from the sky falling down on their heads, and convincing everyone else that if they stub their toe its all down to the date… even if they had already stubbed their toe on the same thing 20 times previously that year on neither a Friday or a 13th of the month!

Like many traditions and old wives tales, no-one is 100% sure where this date came from. People have suggested that it was something to do with the last supper of Jesus, although this theory only suggests that Friday and the number are both unlucky, not necessarily a combination such as Friday the 13th.

While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.

An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th:

“He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.”

For me it proved particularly lucky today, being a Friday I informed the wife after dinner that I was off to Tesco to choose a bottle of wine to go with our evenings film viewing, only to find when I got there that, Jack Daniels was on offer at only £15 a bottle, rather than the usual £25! For me, that’s a winner! You can keep your crazy beliefs, hide under the duvet all day if you must, but I’m off to relax in front of the tv with a nice jack and coke in hand! Happy Friday everyone!

Day 208 – Does carrot cake count as one of my five-a-day??

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Day 208 – Oct 11th

Wednesday, the halfway point of the working week, and the faint hint of an approaching weekend where if I am ill, I can at least relax at home and feel ill on the sofa in front of the tv, rather than being kicked or bitten by kids! 

So the school I work in is for pupils with special needs, which means that sometimes you can get scratched, spat at, have clothes ripped, get bruises, or be pinched… it happens, but we expect it and don’t take these things personally. They’re just a lot easier to deal with when you don’t feel like you’re dying inside! 

Of course, this doesn’t happen every day, and it’s just a small part of my job, but even if you’re feeling under the weather and hoping for a quiet day, when these situations do arise where pupils can become upset and unpredictable, you just have to forget about how you’re feeling and deal with the problem in front of you. 

Thankfully with Wednesday now out of the way, there are only two more days before the weekend.

Day 209 – If there’s one thing that girl likes, it’s a spinning dress

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Day 209 – Oct 12th

Thursday means staying late at work, and so I miss out on collecting Olivia from nursery, although it is nice to get home from work and see both of my girls already there waiting for me. 

On this particular day I was greeted by Olivia walking down the stairs in a new dress, a big hippy-style flowing dress, which she couldn’t wait to show off by spinning in it. That girl does love to spin, and in fact dresses are her favourite choice of clothing, although rather than just dresses, she likes to call them ‘party’ dresses, although ironically most of the parties she is attending at the moment tend to be in soft play centres, where dresses are the least practical option.

When it came to taking a photo for today, the dress spinning was the obvious choice, and I knew exactly how I wanted my photo to look. It needed to feature a bit of motion blur to show the movement of the dress to really show the spinning off.

Day 207 – Thats it, man! Game over, man… game over!

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Day 207 – Oct 10th

Ah bless poor Bill Paxton, one of his most famously quoted movie scenes, and such a sad loss to the movie world this year.

His movie quote is pretty much how I have been feeling for the last two days now. It hasn’t exactly kept me bedridden, but I have been through the usual aching joints, the sweats, the coughing like an 80yr old asthmatic smoker, and have a throat that feels like it has been kicked by a footballer!

Feeling very grateful for the motorbike, giving me a chance to get to work with out cycling and yet leaving the car for Clare so that she can still get out and get the food shopping done.

I like to feel a little bit productive with my evenings where I can, but it currently feels like I have nothing but cotton wool between my ears!

Day 206 – it won’t always go your way

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Day 206 – Oct 9th

The week hasn’t started well. I am full of germs and feeling a bit sorry for myself. Not sick enough to actually stay at home and rest, but just enough to complain about it to anyone who asks. It’s not like i want sympathy or anything from anyone, I don’t want food and drinks brought to me while I lie down and rest, I just want a bit of patience and understanding if I seem to be slacking or not pulling my weight. 

The wife took herself off to bed early to watch some TV on her own, which left me feeling miserable and sorry for myself on my own. Probably for the best, as it meant I couldn’t moan at her about how ill I was feeling.

So I set about working on some stuff on the computer, only for my laptop to turn around and give me the middle finger too! It didn’t even pretend that it wasn’t mocking me with its “This will take a while” message!

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