Photo a Day Year Seven

I have been working on a photo-a -day project for seven years now – that’s 2548 pictures posted to date. I post the pictures weekly on my Facebook page and, intermittently, here and on Flickr.

My only rule is that I take at least one picture a day – no cheating. Sometimes I have a theme – owl of the week – sometimes I’ll have a weekly theme. This year Spock and Kirk have featured heavily in honour of Star Trek’s 50th birthday (and mine).

As has also become a tradition, at the end of the year I make a mosaic of all 364 pictures.

Mosaic picture of a photo a day pictures

Onwards to Year EIGHT

Nature photos 2015

Twelve nature photos I took this year. What with the weather, work and life generally I haven’t taken as many photos as I did in the last few years. I bought a second-hand 400mm lens a few months ago, but I haven’t had the chance to take it out yet. And I finally got my 24-105mm fixed after it broke when I was in France in summer 2014. So here’s hoping 2016 will be a good year for nature and wildlife.


Photo a day Advent week 4

Photo a day toys and Christmas

Original Mego Spock from the 1970s


Captain Kirk visits the parent on Boxing Day

Photo a day toys and Christmas

Wonder Woman key ring – also doubles as a tree decoration

Photo a day toys and Christmas

The Moomins meet Father Christmas

Photo a day toys and Christmas

I often rescue dolls and figures from charity shops. This is a 2014 Disney (Tangled) Rapunzel bought for £1. Her hair was in a state but otherwise she was in great shape.


Captain Janeway from Voyager comes across some strange objects…


Barbie and Ken as Mulder and Scully feeling the Christmas vibe.


Cat and Christmas tree

Kitten playing under Christmas tree

Rory’s first Christmas

When we just had Valentine, we bought some lovely vintage sixties glass baubles. Valentine never goes near the decorations. But when we got Rory as a kitten we decided we’d go with fake tree and cheap decorations in case he was different. Well – of course he was different. Anything shiny, dangly, sparkly – he’s on it, in it, chewing it.

So for several years we stuck with the fake and cheap and regularly shouting at Rory to stop chewing the lights.

This year, though, Steve had got sick of the fake and the cheap, the shouting and the kitten-proofing. So we bought a real tree in a pot, and against my better judgement put up the vintage sixties baubles.

So how’s it going? Well, apart from some interest the other morning when the decs were sparkling in the sun (he is obsessed with sparkles and reflections) he’s kept away. I don’t know if it’s the real tree – smells funny and is pointy – or if he’s grown up… Let’s see if we, and the tree, can make it through the holiday season though!


Cat and Christmas Tree

Oohh – what’s that shiny thing?

Cat and Christmas Tree

Oohh there’s another shiny thing up there…

Cat and Christmas Tree

The shiny things torment me.

Cat and Christmas Tree


Please don’t offer me a chocolate hobnob…

… but I might offer you one of these if you visit me …

Grain-free biscuits

Grain-free biscuits


As it’s that time of year again – the tins of shortbread and Quality Street, the mince pies (not that I ever liked them anyway), the party snacks (or canapés if you’re feeling posh) the questionable ‘chocolate’ tree decorations time – I thought I’d write a post on why I won’t be consuming any of those things this year.

About this time last year the digestive issues I have put up with since I was a child, took a turn for the worse (in an upsetting, quality-of-life slightly diminishing, but not life-threatening way I hasten to add). The doctor was very positive and supportive, and referred me to the lovely people at the bladder and bowel clinic, saying you’ve got to try to sort out your digestion before things get worse.

However – I was already doing things pretty much ‘right’ – nearly vegetarian diet, eating enough fibre, drinking enough water, taking enough exercise… So, I read and read and read and finally came to the conclusion that I may have some sort of sensitivity to wheat among other things. I may not have, but I do feel better in many ways having cut it out of my diet, so I’m not about to bring it back any time soon. (Just to make it clear, this was not advice from the doctor or the clinic – this is completely from my research.)

Then I started reading up on the Paleo diet and it all kind of fell into place. So since February I have been eating mainly fish-based Paleo. For me this means no grains – no bread, pastries, cakes, pizza, biscuits, biscuity snacks, breakfast cereals and no BEER –  no beans or peas, no cheese, small quantities of organic full-fat milk and butter, no chocolate (unless it’s 85% cocoa solids or higher – then bring it on!) no crisps, no refined sugars, no processed foods, no fizzy drinks, maximum of three cups of tea a day…

I spent a while looking at grain-free and gluten-free replacement recipes for snacks and breads, but apart from what we nicknamed twenty-pound biscuit (because that’s how much it costs to buy all the ingredients!) I don’t really bother anymore.

People who know me well know that bread and savoury snacks were my go-to foods, but I can honestly say I haven’t missed them. Now I rarely feel hungry, tired after eating or bloated, and my digestion is on the way to sorting itself out – oh and I’ve (slowly) lost weight too – I don’t know how much because I don’t weigh myself, but I’m down two dress sizes.

So what do I eat? Five-a-day for sure – both veg and fruit – eggs, fish and seafood, nuts, chia and other seeds, a little bit of meat now and then, loads of home-made mayonnaise and vinaigrette (made with olive oil – it’s awesome!), the aforementioned 85%+ chocolate, lashings of coconut oil, red wine, the occasional cider, a dash of maple syrup – and twenty-pound biscuit of course…



A Week of Blue Butterflies

I adore blue butterflies. I know there are many others that are much more showy and much more rare, but give me these ‘sky flakes’ any time. These are the only four blues you are likely to see in Hertfordshire. All photographed this week in Letchworth Garden City – apart from the Chalkhill Blue, which is from Hexton.

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

Holly Blue

Holly Blue

Small Blue

Small Blue

Common Blue

Common Blue