Friday, 28 January 2011

Fix it Friday at I heart faces - 28th January 2011

Being relatively new to the wonderful world of photography I do not have all the editing and taking of pictures down to a Tee but hopefully with lots of practice I will get there. This is were I heart faces comes in!! They are kind enough to give a challenge once a week of editing a picture, which they give you on a Friday.All different people from around the world have a go at there idea of "fixing" the picture. Everyones idea of what makes the perfect picture may differ considerably and that is what makes this fix it Friday so fabulous. Everyone editing the same picture all coming out with a whole new prospective.

With all that said here is the original of this weeks photo:

This was a beautiful photo to start with.....

With a little photoshop work, a touch of cloning etc this is what I came out with. I am very pleased with it, I didn't want to remove the light on the face completely but instead to soften it a little.

A touch more cropping.

And lastly one with a little something extra.

With the joy of layers after publishing this post I went back to the last edit I did and turned of the colour changed layer and got this. I liked it so thought I would add it!

Please let me know what you think!!

P.S. Thank you I heart faces!!!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

I think therefore I Du Vin! - A weekend in York

In celebration of our Anniversary we had the wonderful opportunity (thanks to some fab babysitters - Thank you!) to go away for a night at a luxury hotel, The Du Vin.
We were welcomed to our beautiful room with a sweet little note from the management...

We felt right at home in our lovely room as it had 10ft ceilings, often when we go away we find it a little cramp feeling due to the height at home. 
Also the bed was almost the same as ours at home, except it was Beech and ours is mahogany. 
This was lovely because having a super king sized bed at home going to a hotel and getting a double bed or king size bed just doesn't feel like luxury!

Now there was something very special in the bathroom... not only two sinks and mirrors, so we didn't even have to share! But also a walk in huge shower with a nice big shower head allowing for a nice drench shower. 
But also and this is my favorite part.... A roll top free standing bath!!!

David got settled very quickly and began preening himself ready for going out.

This hotel likes to do things a little differently and pride themselves on the luxury feel of their hotel.
The hallway of the hotel was no exception to this rule, the chandelier was a piece of art in it's own right.

That's right it is made from Crystal glasses.
We made the most of every moment we had while we were away, 
Beginning by travelling there by train so we could relax and chat.... which we did the whole way.
Then after settling in to our room we went out to a Costa coffee just down the road from the hotel and enjoyed a couple of hours of reminiscing and drinking Delicious hot chocolate...ummmm!
We then enjoyed a very rare occurrence for us.. we went to the cinema!!
This was a interesting experience, it was a very small cinema, also walking distance from the hotel.
The screen was tiny compared to anything I had ever seen before, not much bigger than our home cinema projection system. 
Throughout the film we enjoyed a rustic experience of film watching with flickering film and large black dots appearing now and again.
Being short and the seats all being about the same level, once people came in and sat in front of me I could not see the film. David being the gentleman he is gave me his coat folded up to sit on.
We watched The King's Speech which was amazing, I loved it!!
To be honest the Rustic atmosphere actually added to this film, though not sure I would have wanted to watch Avatar there.

After the film it was time to go and have our meal at the Du Vin restaurant.
The food was amazing, a true culinary delight!
The service was a little slow and the drinks well there is a whole story about those, or the lack of those.
We decided in the end to have our dessert brought up to our room, which was fabulous and we enjoyed chatting until 2am... knowing we would not have to get up at 6am for children!

The next morning I woke up first and decided to take advantage of half an hour of peace and enjoy a little reading.  David bought me a Sony E-reader with a selection of books on it for my birthday.
I am reading My Sister's Keeper at the moment.
David woke about 10am, we got ready and went downstairs for breakfast.
They served the most amazing yogurt I have ever had and it was served in a nice pot too.
The breakfast was brilliant and filled us up so much we didn't bother with lunch.

I then went to settle up the bill and to my surprise after all the shenanigans with the drinks, they had taken the drinks and service charge off our bill!! Bargain!!

We then went into York city centre, to the Art museum.
They had a exhibition which I guess you could loosely label art, entitled Hats.
This was basically a collection of hats and paintings with hats in them, but the pictures didn't follow any sort of coherent progression. 
However half way around we found a display which made us laugh and think of David's Mum.

This may seem like a odd collection to remind you of your mum or mum - in - law... 

And indeed it is...

But the title of the collection will bring a smile to her face and she will know exactly why it made us think of her!!


By the time we had finished here and done a little shopping it was time to get the train home.
On the train we chatted away the whole time and arrived home before we knew it.

We had a fabulous time and made some amazing memories.

Thank you so much to those wonderful babysitters who made it all possible!!


Monday, 24 January 2011

I heart faces - Innocent Wonder

This was a very hard challenge to decide what picture to enter.

After hours of deliberating I finally settled on this one, I love the excitement in the Daddy's face.
Such a pure, innocent, love filled expression.

Nothing in this world is sweeter than a fathers love!

Date night 2 - Nothing better than a sunset....

There are many truly beautiful things in this world.

 A sunset has to be high up on the list as being one of the most beautiful of all things.

 It is a gentle reminder that there is more to life than those things that keep us busy on a daily basis.

 If there is one thing every single person should experience in their lifetime, it is a sunset.

So if you have an evening free, take the opportunity to embrace mother natures canvas and watch her paint a magnificent masterpiece.


Friday, 21 January 2011

Would just like to say....

My dearest David,

Thank you for the best 10 years of my life! Without you in them they would have been miserable and dull.
Thank you for all the good times and the strength to get through the bad. 
Thank you for all your love, support and encouragement, for always being available and caring.
Thank you for each and every candlelit dinner, every evening by the fire, every poem you have written and every cuddle you have given.
Thank you for the beautiful walks in the woods and strides by lakes, the hikes up hills and picnics on mountain tops.
Thank you for still loving me after all these years.

You are amazing and I love you more now than I thought anyone could love, yet I know even by the pass of this day my love for you will have grown even more.

 I still feel the butterflies I felt this day, even as strong as a moment after this picture was taken. The moment you asked me to be your wife for all eternity.

Eternally Yours

Becky x

Monday, 17 January 2011

I heart faces - Winter wonderland

Winter is always a fabulous time of year, but never better than when it snows!
For our family Snow makes for a perfect winter wonderland, ready to be expolored and celebrated!
We love, Love, LOVE snow!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

10 Years on!

On the 27th January it will have been 10 years since Our West Family began!
Ten years sounds like a long time, however for us it has gone like a heartbeat.
So much has happened and changed for us, This decade has seen 3 house moves, 6 children, 2 redundancies, 6 jobs, 2 wards and 1 school.
But one question always comes to mind..... would you change a thing?
My answer would have to be No.
Everything which has happened, everything we have done and achieved and experienced both good and bad has made our family what it is today.

So in the spirit of celebrating a decade Of being The Wests, here is a look back at our life - since the digital revolution!
 (We have our wedding pictures up finally, though only since yesterday! But alas no baby pictures of evidence of the first 5 years)

It all started on a bench
Though it started well before this picture was taken....
Two years earlier in fact!
It began the day David was to go to the temple (LDS) before serving his mission.
A group of rather lovely young men and well me were at the temple that day.
(If I recall correctly there was Tim beard, Andrew Lamb, John Mcconnachie, David West and well me!)
I was the painfully shy type, however during the evening and after trying to get someone to deliver pizza (and I think failing) we all settled down to read some scriptures.
I being the crazy person that I am insisted on sitting in the doorway on a chair propping the door open, as the study was to happen in the boys room. 
David led the study and he taught with a conviction I heard never seen before, The spirit could be felt in my heart like a burning beacon. I think that was the day I truly got a testimony of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
By the time we had finished reading it was time to go to bed, I could not sleep for want of trying.
I was far to excited about the evening which had passed, and could not get that mysteriously amazing man, David out of my mind.
I picked up the scriptures and before opening said a little prayer, I asked something I had never asked before and to this day not sure why at such a tender age I would ask such a question.
I asked "Heavenly Father, Is this the man I am going to marry?"
A little out of the blue, I mean other than a light crush I had been to shy to even speak to this man, but ask the question I did.
After closing the prayer I opened my scriptures and looked down, it opened to Doctrine and covenants chapter 6, my eye was immediately drawn to verse 23.
'Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater bwitness can you have than from God?'
That took me a little by surprise!
A month or so after that I went to general conference, but I was a little distracted by the fact this intriguing young man was there. I wanted to know more about him, but was so shy about talking to him.
Thankfully he wasn't so shy and he came and sat with me and we talked for hours, about anything and everything.
That night David went home and prayed about me and to his amazement got the same answer as I did.... obviously neither of us knew the other had done this.
A short while later I got an invitation through the post, it was addressed to just me, not my family.
It was an invitation to attend David's farewell for his mission.
It occurred to me that moment that maybe he liked me too!!!
I wrote David a little to read on the plane, it just laid out my testimony and wished him well.
Of course he did not wait until he was on the plane to read it, he read it that evening
I got a call asking if I would like to meet up before he went away for a unofficial date - of course being so shy and of such a tender age I had my family and one of my closest friends come too.
We went bowling, which I am possibly the worst person in the world at! (David's colleagues could tell you all about just how terrible I am after bowling before this last years Christmas party!)
We decided to go to Mcdonalds before David had to go, just myself, David and my friend went, we talked for a little while and then to my shock David brought out a big jar of jelly belly beans!
On the tag it read "I would walk a million miles for one of your smiles!"
The jar contained 730 jelly beans, one for every day he would be gone.
Soon after that the day was over and David was off to California for two years to serve the lord.

We wrote regularly and got to know each other as friends first off, which made for an amazing foundation for marriage, I would say the perfect way to start out.
When David came home, I met him at the airport with his family and a few other people.... which almost didn't happen due to the fuel strikes of 2000!
I took a balloon and giant teddy for him (and to hide behind - I was still a very shy person, and to be honest was worried about what David would think of me when he saw me).

We went to David's branch presidents house for dinner but as David had not been released yet it still felt very awkward, He spoke with his mum much of the time there, until finally it was time for him to be released.
I went with him for this, it was amazing!
Straight after David and his mum took me home, but in the car we sat in the back and David reached out and held my hand.
My heart was all a flutter, all the awkwardness was gone in that moment.
I knew again he was the one for me, he was going to be my eternal companion, my forever love.
The next day we went to Alton towers, David and I were not interested in the rides at all, we for the first time ever went on the swans and just talked, we went for walks and talked. I don't think we actually went on any rides that whole day!
Toward the end of that day we had our first hug, he just fit so well, his arms felt amazing and such a comfort around me. I felt like as long as I was in those arms nothing could ever harm me and life would be perfect.
One week after that date, sitting on the bench pictured above, where we had first spoke before that all important scripture study, David proposed!!!!!!
He presented me with a sister missionary badge with Sister West on it after getting down on one knee.
He had written me a letter which explained how he was likely to be nervous, it said all sorts of lovely things and then there it was "Rebecca, Will you Marry Me?"
I turned to him on his knee and said "Is that a proposal?", He replied "Yes, Will You Marry Me?".
Well you can imagine my response..... well you know my response because 3 months later we were joined as husband and wife.
Three months later we found out we were expecting our first child, and so our family began!

So that is how it all started out, it seems like only yesterday, I can still feel the butterflies in my tummy thinking about it and every time I think about my wonderful, lovely young man David!

I think I will have to continue this in another post tomorrow.
I got little carried away with amazing memories and must tend to those crazy incredible six children I mentioned we have now!!

I hope you enjoyed our love story and come back to find out what happened next.... maybe I will even scan some early marriage and baby pictures.... watch this space!

8 layers but is the result worth the work?

I have been playing around with some old photo's lately.
Not sure if the results are worth the effort... do they only look good to my eye?
That's the trouble with photography and art what is pleasing to one person may not be pleasing to another.

Here is an example of some of the playing around I have been doing:

The original

And here is the altered version

Which is better?
For David it is the second one, as this according to him represents what he saw the day the picture was taken.

Here is a different type of alterations I have been practicing:


And here is the edited version

I like to think it is worth the effort but is it really?!
Any thoughts?
Does anyone have any pictures they would like me to have a go at?

I have to admit it has become lots of fun to have a go at making the photo's better!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Fix it Friday at I heart faces!

Not so sure I am doing such a good job at fixing but here is my attempt!

The original

I have made two attempts at fixing this, can't decide which I prefer, though there is not a big differnce between the two.

Well for a first attempt at Fix it Friday, I am fairly happy with my result.

Friday, 14 January 2011

A little fun with Lilibell!

Liliana decided to raid my bed today 

Not content with just the bed she proceeded to investigate my new shoes too

But looking is just not enough for a true girly girl..... You simply must try them on!

Like most girls, once she has them she still feels something is missing....

Everyone needs pretty pearls!

Only one thing left...... must check the hair!

And when it is all done, you suddenly realise that actually you are sweet as pie without it!

Like an angel!

And thanks to I heart faces giveaway this week I have a had a little fun with overlays.... and taught myself how to apply them!

Thank you very much I heart faces and Happy 2nd Birthday!!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Fireworks for the 4 year old!

Yesterday was Micah's 4th Birthday!!

He is getting so big!

Micah asked for a volcano and dinosaur cake.... this is what we came up with.
Every four year old deserves fireworks for their birthday!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Date night 1 - Ten minute dark chocolate and orange Cheesecake!

As a mum to six children when it comes to date night there is not much time for preparation.
So having some ideas and recipes which can be quickly thrown together but wow is very important.
Over the next year I am going to try and give you some ideas for ways to date your husband or wife while not having to call in the babysitters or spend a fortune!

I hope you enjoy!!

So here goes date idea number 1

Before throwing on a fabulous dress you would usually reserve for going out to a swanky 5 star restaurant spend half an hour in the kitchen whipping up a sensational meal with very little effort.

We enjoyed a Risotto, which is incredibly easy to make and can easily be done using some of the left over roast from Sundays dinner.
Some fresh baked bread sits beautifully with a risotto, if you do not want to bake from fresh you can still get the fresh baked smell, taste and texture from part baked rolls!

Then onto dessert well here is the recipe for the easiest cheesecake ever!!!
I hope if you give it a try you enjoy it because I made it up as I went along but loved it!

Dark Chocolate an Orange Cheesecake
Serves 8 (unless you are greedy and have big pieces!)

500g Mascarpone Cheese
200g Dark Chocolate (a good quality is best but not essential)
200g Digestive Biscuits
2 Bars of Butter Crunchy Almond (dimes / daims)
75g Butter
Zest and juice of half a orange
4 tbsp Chocolate shavings (I like to use Hotel Chocolat's Liquid Chocolate.)
Decorations (optional)

1.      Start of by breaking your biscuits and dime/daims down by placing them in a food processor and pulsing until they are like bread crumbs.
2.      Heat your butter until melted and then mix into the biscuit and Dime/ Daim mix until well mixed.
3.      This will form you base, place in a cake tin with removable base and press down firmly.
4.      Warm a pan of water, break up the chocolate and place it in a bowl large enough to sit comfortably on the top of the pan without touching the bottom. Melt the chocolate stirring regularly. It is important with dark chocolate to melt it in this way as melting it in the microwave risks burning the chocolate and even a small amount of burning will ruin all of the chocolate.
5.      While the chocolate is melting place your Mascarpone Cheese in to a bowl and with a spoon loosen the Mascarpone until it is soft.
6.      Once the chocolate is melted place it in the bowl with the Mascarpone and mix well. Ensure that there is no white mascarpone left; it is worth continuing to mix for a minute or so after the last bit of white has gone.
7.      Add your zest and orange juice and mix well.
8.      Add your chocolate shavings and continue to mix
9.      Place your Mascarpone mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth down the top.
10.  Decorate to taste, then place in the fridge for 5 minutes, or until you are ready to serve.

As easy as that and honestly it only takes ten minutes to throw together and tastes fantastic!

Once everything is made light some candles and if you have one light your fire, put on some romantic music and you are ready!
After your food you can move everything aside and enjoy some light slow dancing or chatting by candle light.

We really enjoyed this date and look forward to another year filled with romantic moments and dates which create memories that truly last a life time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you come back for more ideas and share some if you have them.
If you look just below this sentence you will find a comment button, please feel free to use it!!