Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition

I've entered oh, I dunno, a couple dozen writing competitions over the years. (Far fewer than I should have, no doubt.) This was the nicest response I've ever had from one:


It's such a little thing but it makes a huge difference. How you treat the ''winner'' isn't as important as how you treat the ''losers''.

Thanks, Aesthetica, for being awesome.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Winter 2015 Bucket List

Here's my bucket list for this winter:
  • Bake cookies.
  • Make/eat gingerbread men/women.
  • Make homemade gifts.
  • Put up a Christmas/Yule tree.
  • Buy a special new ornament for the tree.
  • Wrap presents.
  • Stuff stockings.
  • Blog about Yule.
  • Write a Christmas/Yule story.
  • Write a letter to Santa.
  • Listen to holiday music.
  • Make a list of the best holiday music.
  • Watch holiday films.
  • Make a list of the best holiday films.
  • Make out Christmas/Yule cards.
  • Have a kick ass Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Make a list of things I'm grateful for.
  • Write a poem for the people I'm grateful for.
  • Tell the important people in my life I'm grateful for them.
  • Donate to the needy/homeless.
  • Make scarves and tie them to trees.
  • Make warm woolie hats.
  • Crochet warm blankets.
  • See snow.
  • Make paper snowflakes.
  • Take a winter walk.
  • Have hot chocolate.
  • Have eggnog.
  • Spend a day snuggling under the blankets.
  • Spend a day in footy pyjamas.
  • Have a winter photo shoot.
  • Photograph random Christmas/Yule stuff.
  • Take a holiday photo together.
  • Make an advent calendar.
  • Wear a silly Christmas sweater.
  • Eat candy canes.
  • Make a snowman.
  • Make a gingerbread house.
  • Get a pair of warm slippers.
  • Hit my reading goal for the year.
  • Make a popcorn garland.
  • Feed the hungry birds/animals.
  • Have/go to a Christmas party.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Monday's Meme of the Week

Jessica, from a Shimmering Star shared this meme to my Facebook page this week and it's just so me:



It also explains why I'm such a frustrating writing partner!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

A Song for Sunday: Billy Idol - Rebel Yell

Because it's been far too long since we've taken a dirty little trip to the Mind Restroom with Billy, this week's Song for Sunday brings you ''Rebel Yell'':



Oh, yeah... that gets the juices going. ;)

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Throwback Thursday

Prepare yourself.

Here is this week's Throwback Thursday photo:


One of my senior photos.

I know, right? IF we could pretend I wasn't wearing socks with sandals it's still unacceptable.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

WednesDIY: Dotty Trees

Another idea I found on Pinterest:


These painting were done on mini canvases and are too freaking adorable for words.

The one on the left is my Autumn Dotty Tree and the one on the right is my Dotty Apple Tree. (The leaves and apples were made using Q-Tips.)

This project doesn't take much time and looks really cute. Give it a try! Tip: if you're doing this with younger kids, you might want to get the background and tree base ready beforehand. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

An Apple Picking Date

One of the things that I've been wanting to do for a very long time is go apple picking - somewhere besides my parents' backyard!

We went to a local orchard called Berry Hill Farm, where they gave us a bag for our apples and let us loose among the trees.





It was a long walk, and we needed to stop several times for Jay to have a rest (he just started physio - more on that later), which suited me just fine because I couldn't get enough of the peace and quiet.




The apple orchard at Berry Hill is the kind of place that soothes your soul and reminds you that life isn't just obligations and bills. It was so great to get away from everything for a couple of hours, surround ourselves with nature, and soak up some sun.





Jay had a great time too, even though it did hurt his back more than he expected. He found a handy branch to use as a walking stick - until he also tried to use it as a tree basher and it smashed into several small twigs.



We had a funny moment, trying to get at a couple of particularly juicy looking apples at the top of one tree. After trying to knock them down with a branch and failing, and when jumping up at them didn't work, Jay had the idea to grab the tree and give it a good hard shake.

But those trees fight back!

An apple flew down and hit me square in the stomach. Doubled over in laughter (and a little pain), I heard Jay's ''Ow! Ow! Ow!'' and laughed even harder. Several apples hit him right on the head - but not one of them was one of the ones we wanted.

Our carrier bag got too heavy to carry before we ran out of yummy looking apples. When we finally made our way back to the gift shop, the attendants laughed and said that we'd been gone so long that they'd forgotten about us.



Jay and I had a great time and we both agreed that it needs to be a yearly outing for us.

Now... if only I had a stove so that I could do some serious baking with all these lovely apples!


Monday, 5 October 2015

Monday's Meme of the Week

With England getting themselves a good ole walloping at the Rugby World Cup this year - in their backyard - it's only appropriate that this week's Meme of the Week reflects this fact: 




Which, of course, came a week after this priceless meme:



As an honorary Welshie, I have to add a HA HA here. ;)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A Song for Sunday: U2 - Sweetest Thing

I love the story behind this song.


When I asked what the deal with all the ''I'm sorry''s was, Jay explained that Bono missed his wife's birthday because he was on tour.

So... I missed your birthday - how about a Number 1 instead?

Leaves a lot to live up to!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Autumn in Wales

To celebrate Mabon this year, I took myself (and my camera) off for a solitary walk around the village and through the woods.



The leaves are changing beautifully this year.


Because the weather tends to be so mild, we don't get many of the vibrant colours you see in some places, come fall. A golden haze is just about all we can normally hope for - but not this year. This year, we've had the hot days and cool nights that make for truly stunning autumn colours.


The usual autumn rains have set in already, so sights like these are not uncommon.


My walk left me feeling both peaceful and energized - which probably only makes sense if you're me. I can't wait to see what changes the next month brings!

Autumn 2015 Bucket List - UPDATED

I had this amazing bucket list planned for this autumn - then my STOVE DIED. Boo.

Now I need to update my bucket list, taking out everything that involves cooking.

I'm a sad Wondra. :/

Can you think of any replacements for the cooking items on my bucket list?

1. Pick my own apples. There's a pick-your-own farm not far away and I've been dying to try it.
2. Make apple cider. I miss being able to pick this up anywhere but it's relatively easy to make, at least in small doses.
3. Bake a pie. I've never baked a pie before. Ever. It's about time I did!
4. Make caramel apples. Mmm.... caramel apples. I'm thinking of the sliced, on sucker sticks kind.
5. Have apple butter. Except I need someone to SEND me some, of course!
6. Enjoy some apple sauce. I'd normally make it myself but, since I have no stove, I'm going to have to see if I can buy some.
7. Visit a pumpkin patch. Or at least a farm selling pumpkins.
8. Carve pumpkins. I keep threatening to make my husband buy me 31 pumpkins so I can carve one every day of October. He thinks I'm joking... Lol.
9. Nom on some pumpkin seeds. Normally I'd bake them myself but I guess I'll have to buy some this year...
10. Eat candy corn until I feel sick. This will require someone sending me some, of course!
11. Make home made soup. I've never done this before, either, but autumn seems like the perfect time for it!
12. Enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Or two. Or twelve. Wondra's Special Hot Chocolate is the best.
13. Have a coffee date with a friend. I can't remember the last time I did this. It's a perfect time for catching up!
14. Watch my favourite fall movies. And maybe find a few more.
15. Bake cookies. What's better on a chilly day than a melt-in-your-mouth cookie, straight from the oven?
16. Hand out Halloween candy. Even if it's just at school. (We don't get trick-or-treaters.)
17. Do something witchy. This time of the year always makes me feel witchier.
18. Send a letter to an old friend. Snail mail. I lose touch too often, and too easily. I need to start setting this right.
19. Take a long walk. Enjoy the changing leaves, the crisp wind, and the golden glow that come with autumn.
20. Take a scenic drive - with no destination. With petrol prices so high these days we never just go out to go out. It would be lovely to drive around and see how the changing season has affected the rest of the country - if we get the chance.
21. Spend a night watching scary movies. Time to cuddle up under a warm blanket and scare the crap out of ourselves!
22. Watch a football game. American football, of course.
23. Play in the rain. Autumn in Britain is definitely the rainy season. Inside of staying dry, I'll head out and act like a big kid again.
24. Stay warm in flannel. Flannel is so snuggly and warm and it just screams cold weather.
25. Play in the leaves. I love the crunch of fallen leaves and I can't help kicking them up as I walk.
26. Leaf art. Instead of just sticking them in a big old book, it's time to get creative...
27. Photograph the leaves. Although we don't get the vibrant reds and oranges that I'm used to, Wales in autumn is still beautiful.
28. Write poetry. I always get a little more poetic this time of the year.
29. Knit. I'm not a particularly skilled at knitting but now is the time to practice. Scarves for everyone!
30. Crochet. I wish I had about a million crocheted blankets for me and the doggies to snuggle under. I should work on that.
31. Visit a craft fayre/farmer's market. Support local artists, crafters and farmers this autumn!
32. Dress up. I always plan to dress up for Halloween but it doesn't always happen. This year, it will - even if I'm not going anywhere!
33. Make a scarecrow. In time for Mabon. I haven't made one in a couple of years.
34. Upcycle clothes. Especially sweaters.
35. Make doggy sweaters. It's nippy 'round here this time of year.
36. Stock up on fingerless gloves/wristwarmers. I'm thinking that I need to make a whole bunch of wristwarmers and buy a bunch of cheap gloves to cut the tips off of.

Friday, 2 October 2015

A Scarecrow for Mabon

It's been a while since I've built a scarecrow for Mabon but I got to do it this year.


I used some old clothes that were destined for a charity shop and a couple of branches I found on my Mabon walk through the forest - as well as a pumpkin from my Samhain box. 

There are ribbons hanging off the arms and I'm going to continue to hang ribbons and bells, etc. from the arms through the next month for a flowy, noisy scarecrow. 

Although I'm happy with my scarecrow, I'm thinking that it would be cool to make another one - maybe one sitting down in a lawn chair?

Thinking of making a scarecrow of your own? Check out my Scaredy Pants board on Pinterest.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

On My To-Watch List

I don't even have words for how badly I want to see Deadpool.


And this one's got me looking forward to Christmas:


This one looks like it's very similar but it has The Shat so it's worth a look.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wednes-DIY: Loo Roll Autumn Tree

Last week, I kept myself busy during the Great Outage of 2015 by painting.



The background and tree were painted (rather badly, I admit) in acrylic and then the leaves were made using an idea I found on Pinterest: loo rolls.

Mixing the paints made it look rather sloppy. I wouldn't do that if I decide to try this project again. It was fun to do but I'm not sure I'd display it.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

And then the power died. (text only)

The electrics in Castle Vanian have been a cause for concern for many years. I've spent plenty of sleepless nights worrying about them shorting out or causing a fire. Why? Because the house - and it's an old one! - still had its original wiring.

For twelve years, we were relatively lucky. We didn't burn to death in our sleep so, hey, it was all good. Sure... the lights went out a few years back but we just plugged in lamps and kept going. Sure... we couldn't run the washing machine and dryer at the same time, without tripping the electrics, but you get used to that.

Then, a week ago last Thursday, our luck ran out.

No, there was no fire, but the electrics tripped and wouldn't come back on.

Groan.

Couldn't have happened at a worse time. With five puppies running around, a buttload of laundry to be done, and the cold weather setting in, losing power was a real pain in the ass.

Then we found out that the whole house would have to be rewired - at a cost of £2,400!

Yikes.

The first two nights were absolute hell. Then, we had the brilliant idea of getting a generator. A gallon of petrol really didn't last long (3-5 hours) - and didn't run much - but it was absolute bliss. We had the generator running from Friday night until Monday night. It was a good thing that work was due to start on Tuesday because one of our douchetard neighbours complained to the council about the noise - even though it was well within EU noise regulations - and we got a nasty visit from them, telling us we couldn't run the generator any longer.

I was not impressed by their visit. They decided they were going to complain about the ''state of our house''. Well, EXCUSE ME. I mean... it's not so easy to clean when you HAVE NO FUCKING LIGHTS. Not that they cared.

Anyway.... The electricians came in on Tuesday and got to work. They were both lovely and friendly. And they did a great job too.

While working in the bathroom, they found our immersion tank (I didn't know we had one!) and got it working. That means we can take hot baths!

Plus, they noticed that the pressure in the shower wasn't great so they fixed that too.

So, after a week and a day of not having power, we're back up and running again AND have hot baths and a powerful shower.

Win.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Wednes-DIY: Paper Bag Tree

I saw this idea on Pinterest and just had to try it. It's so simple! All you need is a few minutes, a paper bag, and construction paper.




Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Autumn 2015 Bucket List

My favourite time of the year has rolled around again and I already feel better for it. Since I spent too much of the summer feeling blegh, I really want to make the most of these autumn days. Here's how:

1. Pick my own apples. There's a pick-your-own farm not far away and I've been dying to try it.
2. Make apple cider. I miss being able to pick this up anywhere but it's relatively easy to make, at least in small doses.
3. Bake a pie. I've never baked a pie before. Ever. It's about time I did!
4. Make caramel apples. Mmm.... caramel apples. I'm thinking of the sliced, on sucker sticks kind.
5. Have apple butter. It doesn't matter if I make it myself or if someone back home who really loves me sends me some. *hint,hint*
6. Make home made apple sauce. I make excellent apple sauce, if I do say so myself.
7. Visit a pumpkin patch. Or at least a farm selling pumpkins.
8. Carve pumpkins. I keep threatening to make my husband buy me 31 pumpkins so I can carve one every day of October. He thinks I'm joking... Lol.
9. Bake pumpkin seeds. I can't let the autumn pass without doing this; we both love them so much!
10. Eat candy corn until I feel sick. This will require someone sending me some, of course!
11. Make home made soup. I've never done this before, either, but autumn seems like the perfect time for it!
12. Enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Or two. Or twelve. Wondra's Special Hot Chocolate is the best.
13. Have a coffee date with a friend. I can't remember the last time I did this. It's a perfect time for catching up!
14. Watch my favourite fall movies. And maybe find a few more.
15. Bake cookies. What's better on a chilly day than a melt-in-your-mouth cookie, straight from the oven?
16. Hand out Halloween candy. Even if it's just at school. (We don't get trick-or-treaters.)
17. Do something witchy. This time of the year always makes me feel witchier.
18. Send a letter to an old friend. Snail mail. I lose touch too often, and too easily. I need to start setting this right.
19. Take a long walk. Enjoy the changing leaves, the crisp wind, and the golden glow that come with autumn.
20. Take a scenic drive - with no destination. With petrol prices so high these days we never just go out to go out. It would be lovely to drive around and see how the changing season has affected the rest of the country - if we get the chance.
21. Spend a night watching scary movies. Time to cuddle up under a warm blanket and scare the crap out of ourselves!
22. Watch a football game. American football, of course.
23. Play in the rain. Autumn in Britain is definitely the rainy season. Inside of staying dry, I'll head out and act like a big kid again.
24. Stay warm in flannel. Flannel is so snuggly and warm and it just screams cold weather.
25. Play in the leaves. I love the crunch of fallen leaves and I can't help kicking them up as I walk.
26. Leaf art. Instead of just sticking them in a big old book, it's time to get creative...
27. Photograph the leaves. Although we don't get the vibrant reds and oranges that I'm used to, Wales in autumn is still beautiful.
28. Write poetry. I always get a little more poetic this time of the year.
29. Knit. I'm not a particularly skilled at knitting but now is the time to practice. Scarves for everyone!
30. Crochet. I wish I had about a million crocheted blankets for me and the doggies to snuggle under. I should work on that.
31. Visit a craft fayre/farmer's market. Support local artists, crafters and farmers this autumn!
32. Dress up. I always plan to dress up for Halloween but it doesn't always happen. This year, it will - even if I'm not going anywhere!
33. Make a scarecrow. In time for Mabon. I haven't made one in a couple of years.
34. Upcycle clothes. Especially sweaters.
35. Make doggy sweaters. It's nippy 'round here this time of year.
36. Stock up on fingerless gloves/wristwarmers. I'm thinking that I need to make a whole bunch of wristwarmers and buy a bunch of cheap gloves to cut the tips off of.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Monday's Meme of the Week

This week's meme actually comes from last Monday and it concerns the heartbreaking news of Wes Craven's death.


We lost a horror legend last week. :(

This meme deserves a mention as well, for the feels:


Wherever the journey takes you, Wes, I hope that it is a place worthy of you.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Repost: Autumn Pinboards

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. (Who doesn't, these days?) I love Autumn. Those two facts, combined, mean that I have a bunch of Autumn themed pinboards for you to peruse and enjoy. Check them out:


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Throwback Thursday

Since this week would have marked James Potter's first day at Hogwarts, this one seemed appropriate:


Do you remember when...

Videotime was turned into Platform 9 3/4?

Monday, 31 August 2015

Monday's Meme of the Week

I heard a comedian use ''snot'' as a verb once and I didn't realize what he meant until I saw this meme:



Yes, I ''snotted''.

It's just so true!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

A Song for Sunday: Iggy Azalea ft. Jennifer Hudson - Trouble

I know, I know... admitting that I like Iggy will ruin every ounce of street cred I ever managed to scrape together but, hey ho.

Music is music and I like music.




And if we (ooo), you gon' want to pay back tithes
Cause when you finish you gon' feel like you was baptized

(lyrics from AZLyrics)

Everything about this song makes me smile.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Flatpack: 0, Wondra: 1

If you've ever had the pleasure of Skype drinking with me (Yes, that's a thing.), you'll know the frustration I've endured over my broken kitchen trolley. I swear that thing's been busted for six months or more, making getting ice out of my freezer -- which it sits in front of -- a pain in the ass.

And no one likes warm rum and Coke, right?

It took forever to save up enough money to replace the bastard thing but it finally happened! Huzzah!

Then there was just one problem: putting it together.

As you know, Jay is not a DIY-guy. If it involves a screwdriver, he has to call in backup. Well, not this woman! I say bring it on!


My new trolley!

It's a teensy bit smaller than the old one but we can make it work.

I'm also adding a decent set of screwdrivers to my list for Santa this year. Do you know we own just two, a Phillips and a flat-head? Who has two screwdrivers?!