31 October 2012

Around here- October edition

October could not have brought more changes to it! It has been in turn the longest month and a month that has flown by so fast!

From top: I love living literally next door to the cathedral, I am so lucky to call this place home. One of my favourite buildings in the city; just because of the colour! This has been a month for new friendships over endless cups of tea and hot chocolate. Our beautiful candlelight walk to the cathedral.  I feel so blessed to have found friends who enjoy welly walks as much as I do. Experimenting with reflections. We have had the most beautiful weather- cold and crisp and very autumny! Making pasta for the the boy and me in my beautiful new pasta dishes.

October- such a good month. What has yours looked like?

For clarification, around here photos are images I collect together towards the end of the month. The stray images, the orphaned ones. Those left on the end of a memory card or taken for a blog post yet not quite made it on. They sum up my month better than any words can! 

29 October 2012

Chunky wool and wooden needles.

There is nothing better than a new project.
In a new place I often go back to things that are familiar, things that are easy. Chunky wool is just that. It's soft and warm and easy to knit with. It hides mistakes pretty well and in a county where we have already had snow it is just perfect!

A few of you asked what I was knitting. I am knitting another cowl. I can't get enough of these things and in Durham they are perfect. I am knitting one stitch blue and one stitch white for 15 stitches for those who want the details. It's turning out rather funky if I do say so myself!

I have never used wooden needles before but they were all the shop sold. I think they may have won me over. They are beautifully tactile and feeding soft chunky wool across them in the late afternoons is so nice.

Coming back to knitting in the late Autumn is wonderful.
What's your project at the moment?

26 October 2012

Tips and tricks for instagram

I use instagram a lot.
I love its simplicity, the filters and the concept of photo sharing. 
I have also picked up a few tips along the way...

1. Take photos with the built in camera on your phone. I have an android (I don't know what the deal is with the iPhone) but the camera that comes with the app is pretty useless. Most of the time I snap my pictures on the go on my phone camera. When I get home I sit down and upload them to instagram. Just click the camera button and select "from gallery". Easy and good quality! 

2 Even if you don't have internet, instagram will save to your phones photo album. To do this turn off internet and upload a photo to instagram. Add an effect etc and try and click publish. Obviously it will fail. Click on the little cross. Now go and pay a visit to your phones photo gallery and lo and behold there is that photo that didn't publish complete with the effect you chose. 

I like to do this, turn my internet back on and upload the failed picture again. You can now add another effect over the top. 

This picture was first taken with the "Valencia"effect saved and then I added the "nashville" effect over the top. 

Possibilites are endless! 

3. Use the blur tool. It's just so lovely. It's the little tear drop icon for those not in the know. Just pinch the screen to expand and turn the blurred area. 

4. This is a personal preference but I think there is a fine balance with hashtags. Too many and you like you are twelve but a well phrased witty hashtag will always make me chuckle! 

5. Storing instagrams. There are so many options for this but I like to have mine on my laptop. 
You could plug your phone in or (because I am lazy) I use Ink361. 
You log in, your pictures come up and then you can save them to your hard drive. I try and update mine every week or so. 
I feel my instagram photos are as valuable as my SLR photos and are worth taking the time to save. 

Oh and a final point. Recently I have found that there are quite a few spammers out on instagram now. I have had a few follow me and then leave advertising in the comments section of each photo. This is just annoying. I have therefore made my profile private and except people who I know. This irritates me because it makes it less sharing but if it stops the spammers I am cool with it! If you want to follow do stop by because I love excepting people who follow my blog! 

23 October 2012

Simply a Moment

I open the college door onto a crisp autumn afternoon. We have been so blessed with this golden sunshine the last few weeks.

I start to pace up the hill. I know I am early, my feet urge me on but my head says "hold back". This is only the second time I have paced this path. I am trying to remember where to go, replaying landmarks and paths from our last walk.

My breath is heavier now as the incline increases and the cold air hits my throat. My heart is beating too fast and not just from the climb. I am irrationally excited. I look to my left and the river dances in the late afternoon light, the bridge merely a shadow in the distance.

I take a moment to admire the view yet my feet are calling me on and I obey. The signposts start to speak of my destination yet the hands on the clock have not reached the allotted hour.

I go through the entrance and look up at the electronic boards. the rows and rows of orange letters and numbers. I take a lucky guess and head for the stairs. I am nearly running now, determined not to be late.

I stand on the grey platform. Waiting. Watching.
The minutes on the station clock crawling slowly.
I turn to look at the coffee shop near me and see a sign.

It makes me smile.

Because this moment is magic. This waiting, this expectancy.
Slowly the train starts to woosh into appearance. It slows. It stops.

My eyes frantically scan the hoards of people. I'm searching. Searching for his face. The crowd thins and I still can't see him.

I turn, look up and there he is. A familiar in a sea of strangers faces. We smile. We grin goofily at each other. We gaze at each other through the turnstile that separates us.

It feels a million years between him getting off the train and reaching me.
I try and walk towards him but I realise I am running.

And without realising how I got there I am in his arms. And although we have played this scene a thousand times before we will never get tired of the meeting at the station. In this moment.

Simply a moment. Inspired by Alexa

22 October 2012

Life right now- according to Instagram

This is life right now according to Instagram

Top Row left to right: I spent a lot of time waiting at bus stops whilst working. Stamping some new pillows, experimenting with painted quotes.

Middle row: stationary shopping, sweet shopping and curling up by the fire as the Autumn evenings started to draw in.

Bottom row: My birthday crockery, stunning October skies and a full car ready to head up north.

Top Row: Oh hello Durham, amazing lighting across the water, making new friends.

Middle row: I love getting letters in the post- reading this one on my way to a morning lecture. My new home, getting lost in the scary library.

Bottom row: Glorious walks by the river, drinking a lot of tea, loving life.

I'm sorry again for being so rubbish on the blogging and commenting front. I read and value every comment that has come in over the last few weeks. Instagram has been a saviour in keeping you guys and family updated! I love this app.

As usual if you wish to follow me my username is abibeach. 

Thanks for stopping by.

18 October 2012

In the candlelight

We stood on the bridge overlooking the river. The air was filled with murmurs and laughter. Our breath rose in clouds above our heads. We held our lit candles and slowly walked along the river bank, up into the beautiful cathedral. We commented on how we couldn't wait for christmas and how magical this moment was. Together we stood in the cold building as we were welcomed to the cathedral and taken through its history. In the candlelight we all fell in love with Durham and its spontaneous moments like this. A candlelight procession on a dark Autumn evening. Beautiful.

15 October 2012

How about some tea?

I used this format of post a month or so ago and loved it so please join me for some hypothetical tea again! 

If we were to sit down and have a cup of tea I would tell you a few things.
Firstly that I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my friends back home, my family and to you guys. I am still blown away by the number of lovely comments, good luck messages emails and general good wishes sent my way in the last two weeks.

I would tell you that as each comment comes in I can't stop smiling and that I feel so blessed to have people who genuinely care for how I am doing as I start my life as student. I would tell you that I can't say thank you enough and that I feel like I have some crazy support team behind the wings!

As we sat in one my favourite coffee shops in Durham I would tell you about my week. How I have just started lectures and how it is in turn overwhelming and so exciting. I would tell you that one of my lecturers is mad but makes the hour fly by. I would tell you that another is so exceedingly dull that I struggled to keep my eyes open. We would have a laugh over these things, recounting stories of teachers and lecturers you and I had had in the past.

As we started to demolish the first piles of cake I would talk to you about how much I love this city. How I feel at home, how God has provided some amazing friendships and great opportunities.

I would laugh with you about crazy Durham traditions. About our freshers formal where we all had to wear our gowns and weren't allowed to leave without bowing the high table first. I would tell you about the freshers fair and how I got a bit too carried away signing up for everything.

I would sit there happy. Sharing life with you. Thankful that you take the time to read my words and apologising that I am not the best commenter at the moment. Full of gratitude for all your support and so excited to keep sharing.

What would you tell me about?

13 October 2012

The handmade touch

One thing I LOVE about a new room is the handmade things I can fill it with.
I like my room to feel very "me".

That means a whole load of bunting, a few pretty quilts and of course plenty of photos.

It makes me smile the number of times my friends come into my room and comment on the decorations. It is so simple to do but man it makes my space feel special.

When I went to uni I debated for a while about bringing my sewing machine.
I am so glad I did.

All the materials for bunting for just £3! Yes please! (tutorial to come!)

You can't beat the handmade touch. And the best thing is my friends are already asking for sewing lessons! Spreading the crafting love my friends!

10 October 2012

Ten on the tenth


Today I am joining in with Shimelles Ten things. And you probably guessed it....here are ten things I have learnt as a new student....

1. Maps are good. It is no shame to look at a map, especially if you (ahem) have no sense of direction.

2. Many roads look alike but surprisingly they will not take you to the same place. I have been pretty lost on more than one occasion! See point one.

3. You can never have too much tea. Or biscuits for that matter.

4. Do not enter Tesco's through the door right next to the pastry and cakes aisle. The temptation is far too great!

5. Durham has a silly number of traditions, most of which I don't understand. I have learnt to just go with it. Banging pots and pans together at six in the morning to wake the other colleges up anyone?

6. Face time is good. Except my mother doesn't quite understand how it works. The novelty factor has not worn off after a week of using it. Bless her!

7. I love getting mail. I love getting mail from special blog friends. Thank you Mel!

8. The university library is intimidating. The intellect in that place is almost tangible. It is also nigh on impossible to find the book you are looking for without scaling the shelves. I lost both my friends and myself. Scary I tell you.

9. I am so very bored of saying "Hi, my name is Abi". I am thinking of changing it to Eric just to liven things up a little.

10. Uni life is exciting, nerve racking, funny and such a wonderful experience.

Thanks for stopping by!

9 October 2012

In this city

I have to be honest. I was nervous about moving up north. I mean, if truth me told it isn't warm is it? And then there is the accent problem. Would I be seen as a southern softy?

Why was I worried?
I have fallen in love with this city.
This city on a hill with all of its traditions, all of its grandeur alongside the rugged informality of student life.

Each day I walk down along the narrow cobbled road my college is on and then across one of the many bridges. Yes, it's pretty cold, yes I can see my breath and yes my coat is definitely out, But, it is just so beautiful.

Who can say that they have this view every day? The way the sun bounces off the river or the water is disturbed by the quiet splash of oars.

I am enjoying exploring the narrow streets, the little alleyways and the secret shops. Each day I am learning something new about this city, Each day I walk a little further afield. Each day there is something different; new music, new street sellers, new markets.

I don't know whether it comes from never living in a city before but I am enthralled by this new experience. This city is rich and vibrant and has a rather impressive number of coffee shops as well!

Wherever I go I look up to the hill and see the cathedral towering proudly over the city. What a special place to live and how blessed I am to be able to call it my new home.

Again thank you for all your kind comments. I am stopping by your blogs whenever I get a free minute but am still getting to grips with all the ins and outs of lectures and seminars. I am sorry if I don't get around to commenting etc, but rest assured I am missing it and am stopping by your blogs never the less to catch up on all the news! 

7 October 2012

The story of the biscuits in the post.

Once upon a time there was girl (woman? scary thought!) 
Exactly a week ago she packed up her belongings. The books, the quilts, the clothes, the mugs, the kitchen sink. 
She traveled a very long way north before arriving in a city on a hill. A city with a towering cathedral and a medieval castle. A city where they still sell hot bovril for 80p and where the locals still call you "pet". 

She started her life at Uni and loved it. 
She met lovely people and bonded over cups of tea and Downton Abbey. 
She explored the old city and decided that she definitely needed more jumpers. 
She took part in crazy traditions and college fun.

One day she got an email from the porter. She had a package. A parcel waiting in reception. Could she come and get it? 
The girl dropped her laptop (just an expression!) and galloped downstairs to find a large square box waiting. 
She had no idea who it was from. Several possibilities ran through her mind but she was left baffled. 
It was a heavy box. 
She raced it up to her bedroom and tore it open. Inside was another box and this box...

Was full of biscuits! 
She knew immediately who it was from. Her godparents have an awesome sense of humour and what better present for a uni student! 

This story is part of Sians Storytelling Sunday

Thank you for all your kind comments, Facebook messages, emails etc. I feel so blessed to have had so much support from my blog friends as I begin my new life at uni. Posts may be less frequent as I find my feet here but I have so much to share! Thanks for stopping by again after a bit of a break on my part!