Monday, 9 October 2017

Portmahomack Holiday - Part 6 - Birthdays, Picts and Fine Dining!

The last full day of our time in Portmahomack was also my mum's birthday. I don't think the prospect of ending the holiday was the best present she could have asked for though! As she's got herself hopelessly addicted to the antics of Flipper, Neptune, Moby, Coral and Koi - the 'Under the Sea' litter of the Kitten Cuddle Room, I decided to get her a kitten of her own.


(click right to go through all the images)

Friday, 6 October 2017

Portmahomack Holiday Part 5 - Astrophotography!

One of the things I hate most about living where I do is the light pollution. Even on a dark, clear night, the sky is still tainted by a faint orange glow, and the plethora of streetlights makes shooting the stars difficult.

At Portmahomack however, there were no such issues, and provided I turned my camera away from the handful of lights which lit the lane behind the cottage, I was in almost perfect darkness.


Portmahomack Holiday Part 4! - Pictish Stones, Selkies, Dolphins and Gnomes!

Day 5 was fairly uneventful. We met up with some distant relatives over lunch in Tain and did our best to explore the town before either the rain got too heavy, or, as became pretty apparent early on, everything closed up for the day at 4pm!

I don't think we really saw it at its best due to the weather, but I thought Tain was a little nondescript.

image
This rather fetching colour scheme was the exception!

Monday, 2 October 2017

2017 Portmahomack Holiday! (Part 1 - Tarbat Ness)

As usual, I'm documenting my holiday up north so feel free to ignore if you don't want to see shiny scenery, seals, stars and of course, cats! It's a big 'un this year so I'll probably be splitting it into multiple posts so it isn't such a chore to read!

 If you'd rather just look at the photos and ignore my reminiscent ramblings, the Flickr album can be found -here-.

image

Monday, 4 September 2017

Deja Brew! (WIP)

One of the 1/6th scale projects I've been working on for months is a coffee shop. While Max and Juno's kitchen and bedroom are priorities, I felt I needed somewhere they could socialise with the rest of the cast. A coffee shop seemed like the logical solution, though perhaps not, as I don't drink tea or coffee so I'm very unfamiliar with what's actually available! πŸ˜‚

 I couldn't resist a good pun for the name though. :P

It's still very much a WIP at the moment but I thought I'd share what I have so far anyway!

 image

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Glasgow Pride 2017!


In a move which will surprise exactly no one with all the gay stuff I post on my facebook page and the development of Max and Juno's adventures...I am...not straight.

πŸ’“πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œ

Glasgow Pride 2017

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Max and Juno's Summer Holiday

Now for something a little lighter..

It's photostory time! :P

final gif really

This should have been posted months ago but what can I say, I procrastinate like the proverbial boss.

Apologies for the quality of some of the photos - I took and edited them on my phone and the graininess was more obvious on the desktop view than I expected. :(

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

And now for something a little more serious.

I don't make these kind of posts often, but I feel that this one is necessary as it might help explain why I post so erratically sometimes all the time.

This is just a little head's up - after seven years of relative normality, I'm back on anti-depressants as of three days ago. 


 I've been pretty low for a while now but my anxiety is at an all time high - I've had two panic attacks in as many weeks and I'm just so DONE with it kicking my arse at seemingly every opportunity.
I know many people like to keep their health issues to themselves which is totally understandable but I've always tried to be super open about mine, especially when it's a mental health issue, as unfortunately there's still a ridiculous amount of misinformation and negativity surrounding them and their treatment; something which ultimately put me off taking anything when my depression was really bad over ten years ago when I was still at school. I'd got it into my head that somehow taking meds for it was showing 'weakness' and that I was a lesser person for it which I (thankfully) eventually realised was utter bullshit.


You'd never shame someone with cancer or diabetes or a broken leg for getting treatment would you, so why is it somehow ok to do the same with mental health? I know of so many people who, like me, balked at the phrase 'mental health issue' because of the associated stigma, and it's honestly one of the worst things you could do to yourself.
My brain isn't functioning as it should, so I'm forcing it to get its act together, that's it. I am not defined by what shitty problems I have, from the aforementioned uncooperative brain to my arthritic hip or my PCOS - these are just crappy things that happen to have affected me, as they could anyone, and I refuse to let any of them be used against me. I may feel like shit most of the time, but that doesn't make me a shitty person, and I hope anyone reading this who is going through similar things feels the same way.


My hobbies have always been a huge help and a coping mechanism so I don't think this will affect things, but I did feel a little bit 'flat' the last time I was on these particular meds, so we'll just have to wait and see. I've got a few posts in progress though so I've got plenty to talk about! XD


Anyway, that's pretty much the purpose of this post, so umm, yeah, hooray for the wonders of modern medicine and for the NHS! πŸ’“

 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Newbies!

I meant to post this last week but er...you know the drill. XD

Anyway, I came away from the show with a handful of new arrivals and I honestly couldn't be happier with them!

First up is the gorgeous Sullivan, who'll probably be either a Connemara or another Highland for the growing herd. Her name popped into my head almost immediately, and it wasn't until I told Heather that it hit me - I'd accidentally named her after her mum's adorable black cat! πŸ˜‚
Out of all the grey Julips I have, she's definitely the darkest and I've been after something similar for years, so to find it first time on my favourite mould was just perfect luck! She's had her head dropped a little too which gives her such personality!

Before she could officially join the rest of the herd however, she needed a little tweak...

The mohair Julip uses now is beautifully soft but can go insanely frizzy, as evident here once I got her home...

Sullivan

Sullivan 

That just wouldn't do at all, so she went on a little trip to the grooming area in the Livery stables for a hose down and a thorough makeover.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Lake District Live 2017

As with the same show last year, I travelled down to the Lakes with my friend (and new owner of Magpie Models) Heather, though this time we had an extra travelling companion in Magda, who I'd seen last a few weeks prior at the RHS. She didn't currently have any Julips, but we assured her from personal experience that she'd manage to acquire at least one in the spares. :P

The journey was good, save for that one time the sat-nav directed us around the world's smallest roundabout! (which was literally a clump of grass in a very narrow country lane!) We were staying somewhere different from our usual room at the George Washington pub, this time we'd be at the Arnside Independent Hostel  overlooking the estuarine Morecambe Bay.

We arrived in good time; so good in fact that we were far too early to book in, so we went for a wander instead.

IMG_4261

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Photobucket missing photos - heads up!

As some of you may know, Photobucket has decided, in their wisdom(!) that they'd like to charge their users an exorbitant fee ($300 a year!)for the privilege of using them as an image host, - which, frankly, is their only purpose as a website - and aren't letting some of those with higher views work until I pay up. At the moment it's still free to use to store your images but it looks like they're going to start charging people to allow them to post stuff on forums and websites.

I'm definitely not going to do that, and instead I'm going to find a new host and move things there, but as I have thousands of (mostly old) images, this may take some time so please bear with me!

Some of my old photostories on my other blog are now completely ruined, but I've managed to download all the original images, (albeit low quality ones as PB resized them and I've since lost the original files) so I'll be able to fix them. Some of my reaction gifs and old photos of tack and things will be gone soon too so some of my older blog posts are likely to look a little strange for a while.

I'm hoping to upload those to another host in the coming weeks so all should be well eventually. The majority of my 30k+ photos are on Flickr, so they're safe at least.

Anyway, this is just a head's up to anyone who uses Photobucket  that it's probably wise to get copies of all your files! I've seen people wondering whether this is a last minute cash grab before they go bankrupt or something as it's just so extreme, so yeah, back up your stuff just in case!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #11 Mini Major

I don't quite understand the rules of the Mini Major class, other than the fact that there are teams of two - a young rider and an adult in the ring at the same time, trying to complete the course as fast as possible one after the other.

What I can tell you though is that it's exhilarating to watch - those ponies can't half shift!

Mini Major

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #10 Heavy Horse Turnouts

A fresh bag of doughnuts in hand, and aching feet, were not a good combination so we desperately needed somewhere to sit down for a while. I suggested we try for the main ring as the stands are often quieter later in the day and sure enough, we managed to find some good seats up at the back where we could rest our weary limbs and pig out on tasty food.

The Heavy Horse Turnout class was nearly finished, so we got some nice views of the teams as they trotted round the ring, chains and harnesses jingling.

Heavy Horse Turnout - Fours

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #9 Ponies, Ponies, Ponies! (and Clydesdales)

After the coos, we moved on to the big stable block at the back where all the Highlands and Shetlands are housed during the show. Unfortunately the Welshies and other pony breeds seem to be kept away from public view which is a real shame.

On the way there we spotted a few decidedly un-ponylike creatures as some of the Clydesdales were readied for the harness turnout classes later on.

Clydesdales

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #8 Touch The Floof!


Ever since I started going to the show with Magda, who really loves cows, I've taken more of an interest in the cattle.

Highland Cows

More specifically the Highlands!

Highland Cows

 Highland Cows

Highland Cows

Let's be honest, how can you resist them?

Highland Cows

They've got heaps of character...

Highland Cows

Highland Cows

...and they're just...

Highland Cows

...so...

Highland Cows

...FLUFFY!

Highland Cows

They were also incredibly quiet and mostly ignored the visitors, choosing to concentrate on their hay, but this wee calf didn't mind us touching all it's floof.

Highland Cows

Highland Cows

...and believe me, it was very floofy.



One of the Queen's bulls was there too, and he was quite the looker. I always like seeing black Highlands as they're a bit different and there's just something really appealing about them

Highland Cows

Though not quite as striking as the Belted Galloways, which are my second faves.

Highland Cows

(they're just not fluffy enough though. 😒)

Next up, PONIES, PONIES PONIES! (and bonus Clydesdales)



Royal Highland Show 2017 - #7 Novice Riding Horses

While I was photographing the warmup ring, the others had already gravitated to the ring next door, where the Novice Riding Horse* class was in full swing. (*I think that was the class name anyway!)

Novice Riding Horse

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #6 WHP Warmup

I'm really not happy with how my photos from the last post turned out, but luckily for me, the sun came out when I took a few shots in the warmup ring and they came out a lot nicer. Some were still horribly out of focus though, so I had to do some emergency edits and they still look awful. :(

Warmup Ring

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #5 Working Hunter Pony

Once we'd exhausted our fill of heavy horses, we went in search of lunch, a seat and more ponies...

Working Hunter Pony

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #4 Clydesdales, Belgians and Percherons, oh my!

The heavy horse stables are always a popular place to visit at the RHS, but a little dark, so the majority, if not all of my photos were taken with my phone, as my camera (even on his good days!) doesn't do well in the gloom.

Clydesdales


Royal Highland Show 2017 - #3 Assorted Ponies!

Not that we could ever have our fill of ponies, but we decided to head off for the big barn full of Clydesdales after seeing the main ring. The route there took us past one of the collecting rings, which happened to have several tiny ponies in situ!

Miniature Shetlands

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #2 Welsh Ponies, Cobs and Connemaras

 Just along from the Highlands in the main ring, the Welsh Sec Bs, Ds and Connemaras were being shown. We wandered along to the Connies first, but by then I'd managed to get my camera working again so we doubled back to see the smaller ponies.

Connemaras

Royal Highland Show 2017 - #1 Ridden Highlands and Broken Cameras

 As I said in my previous post, I travelled to the RHS this year with two companions, my friends, TomΓ‘s and Rory who had come up specially!

We rose early (well, for me anyway!) on Friday to go to the show. The bus into town was a little late, but the Edinburgh ones leaving the depot were very regular and after missing one as the baguette I'd chosen to buy for lunch later apparently had to be toasted first, another arrived a few minutes later.
The forecast was for rain until midday, then cloud and sunny spells for the rest of the day.

The rain showed itself within a few minutes of setting off but we hoped it'd pass over quickly.

En route...

Death and all her Friends

It's been a weird couple of weeks.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Warehouse Window Tutorial!

Here's a quick tutorial for you before we get back to holiday pictures! XD

I've been meaning to add an industrial style window to Max and Juno's living room for ages, as I think I've finally settled on their home being a fairly dilapidated old factory/warehouse that's been turned into apartments, and while I could find plenty of tutorials for making windows, or full scale privacy screens I drew a blank at doing the opaque and weathered glass you see so often in those kinds of buildings, so I had to come up with my own methods.

 I wanted it to be opaque to disguise the fact that I don't have a background behind the windows and to give it a bit of age and a distressed feel.

Weathered industrial window glass tutorial

Kirrimuir, Cats and Cows

 This post is roughly three weeks late but never mind. XD

Barely a couple of days after returning from Clochan, I got on a train again, this time to Perth, where Heather would be picking me up to stay with her for a few days.

See my previous post for all the Magpie Model related shenanigans, and stick with this for shiny scenery and amusing anecdotes.

Tfw you see a whole field of cobs from the train but can't get your phone camera out quick enough to catch them all. πŸ˜₯ . #cobs #cob #horses
Tfw you see a whole field of cobs from the train but can't get
your phone camera out quick enough to catch them all. πŸ˜₯ .

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Behind the scenes at Magpie Model Horses!

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
 
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.

Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.


I've been waiting a while to make this particular post!

The UK has produced a number of model horse companies over the years, only a scant couple of which are still on the go. Magpie Models (once known as 'Dream Ponies') was one such company, much beloved by collectors. I have a modest herd myself, almost all customs, but there are some folk I know that have loads!

 Magpie Shetlands

EA Ted Tonks

The company has changed hands a few times over the years but production ceased a while back and its future was uncertain.When then owner, Becky Benfield of Utterly Horses (and now Copperfox) put Magpie Models up for sale a few years ago, speculation was buzzing. Just who would take the reins of this much loved stalwart of the UK hobby?

After the initial excitement when word got out that it had sold, all went quiet and a couple of years on, nobody knew anything about the new owner's identity or even whereabouts, and it was all rather mysterious. It was around about this time that my friend Heather Forrest, who I've travelled down to the Lake District Julip shows with the last few years, dropped a rather large bombshell when she was picking me up from the station at Perth, having very kindly invited me up to stay with her family for Thanksgiving last year...

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Cold, Cats and Crafting

My cousin Ailsa was heading up Elgin way a couple of weeks ago to see her parents for a few days and as I hadn't visited in years, I tagged along too.

As our train was an early one and there wasn't one which would get me into town on time, I stayed over at her flat, passing this rather entertaining magic glowing cone/quest marker on the way.

image

The journey up was lovely, and we had a rather delicious brunch at Patisserie Valerie in Aberdeen upon arrival, then it was onto Clochan itself after my aunt picked us up.

Half the purpose of the visit, in all honesty, was for some much needed cat time, courtesy of the most handsome of tabbies - Miko, now aged 15!

The most handsome of tabbies. @mrmikocat #tabbycat #wildcat #catsofinstagram

Thursday, 4 May 2017

An interlude...

I've got lots to post about in the next week or so (some scenic scenery and a sneaky behind the scenes look at the newly relaunched Magpie Model Horses!) but I haven't uploaded all my photos yet so you'll just have to put up with this instead; another brief look into the daily goings on at Max and Juno's place...

Max  . .#dollroom #dolldiorama #dollfurniture #barbiecustom #barbie #barbiecollector #sixthscale #dollphotography #playscale #fashiondollphotography #dollstagram #instadoll #maxandjuno #dollsofinstagram #doll #gaydolls #gaybarbiedoll #dollswithtattoos #ba


Desk . #dollroom #dolldiorama #dollfurniture #dollshouse #dollhouse #roombox #barbiecustom #barbie #barbiecollector #sixthscale #dollphotography #playscale #fashiondollphotography #dollstagram #instadoll

The living room . .#dollroom #dolldiorama #dollfurniture #dollshouse #dollhouse #roombox #barbiecustom #barbie #barbiecollector #sixthscale #dollphotography #playscale #fashiondollphotography #dollstagram #instadoll

I made one of those fancy reclaimed wire spool tables that's all over Pinterest from a cardboard tube, some scrap balsa wood and more of the wood effect wallpaper. The delightfully carved wooden zebra by the stove was a lucky charity shop find by my dad - I've trained him well, he now actively searches for horse shaped objects for me!

As I knew the real flowers I'd used for my Easter photo session wouldn't last, I rummaged through my bag of plastic planty bits and dug out a couple of tiny terracotta plant pots I'd bought at a recent craft fair. The soil is just a chunk of blue foam to pad it out, then covered in a liberal dollop of PVA glue and dried coffee and tea grounds.

πŸŒ±πŸŒΏπŸƒπŸŒ» . #dollroom #dolldiorama #dollfurniture #miniatures #dollshouseminiatures  #barbiecustom #barbie #barbiecollector #sixthscale #dollphotography #playscale #fashiondollphotography #dollstagram #instadoll

The anglepoise lamp on the desk was a £4 bargain from Flying Tiger Copenhagen, and is completely poseable as well as fully operational, which comes in very handy when Juno feels the urge to draw late at night...

Burning the midnight oil. . .#dollroom #dolldiorama #dollfurniture #barbiecustom #barbie #barbiecollector #sixthscale #dollphotography #playscale #fashiondollphotography #dollstagram #instadoll #maxandjuno #dollsofinstagram #doll #dollswithtattoos #barbie

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter with Max and Juno

Easter

'We've got one each, right?'

Easter

'I hope so, I can't see this one lasting long between the pair of us...'

Chilling on a Sunday afternoon

'...I might order some more up later, you know, for...emergencies'

Easter

Bonus picture - this is what lives on the mantelpiece outside of holidays. :P


Chilling on a Sunday afternoon