Photos – old and new

My grandfather used to be a professional photographer. Unfortunately he was considerably older than his wife, my Nana and died when I was only about three. I would have liked to learn some things from him.

I was digging through his collection recently and came across some photos which I thought I’d share with you.

This is some of the beautiful South Australian coastline.

Some old sheds

Two girls sitting on the beach. Not sure who they are.

Do you know what? I’m no good at fibbing. I have to tell the truth. My grandfather did not take the above photos. I did, and used a Photoshop action to age them. I didn’t lie about him being a professional photographer though.

I got the actions from Smashing Magazine -The ultimate collection of useful Photoshop actions and the action I used was the Hand colored vintage photo by Jenny.

Below are the original photos.

Guess the animal

And these two girls are my sister and myself.

I can’t wait to try out some of the other actions,  but I love the vintage one I’ve used here. It’s so thorough.

Sony Ericsson C902 phone giveaway

Sony Ericsson C902 phone A couple of months ago I received the phone from Sony Ericsson, like the picture to the left, to try out and review if I so wished.

I’ve now done this and I’m going to give it away. I’m locked into a contract with my current phone and it doesn’t seem worth having another phone sitting around doing nothing.

What you need to do to win it:

  • Write about why you would like to win it on your blog. It doesn’t have to be a long entry. Make it funny, add pictures. Do what you like, so long as it conveys why you want this phone.
  • Link to my blog – http://semanticallydriven.com within your entry.
  • Leave a comment on this post so I know that you’ve entered.
  • Do this by the witching hour on Friday 31 October (midnight on 31 October incase I’m muddled about what the witching hour is).

What would be nice for you to do:

  • One of the conditions for me keeping it was to donate money to a charity – ‘Clean Up Australia‘ has been nominated. I’m still going to do this and if you win and feel so inclined to donate then that would be great. Even if you don’t win and feel so inclined to donate that would be great.

Disclaimers and further information:

  • It doesn’t have a SIM card. You’ll need to supply your own.
  • It’s not locked to any particular Australian phone network.
  • For people outside Australia, it might not work with mobile phone providers so this is only open to Australian readers.

What you get

You might win the phone but even if you don’t I will post links to all the bloggers that participated during the next couple of weeks and at the end.

For even more information about the phone – read these reviews from Neerav, John Lampard, Lee, Ben and Greg.

Good luck.

Making a trifle

I had a few people around for dinner a little while ago and as I quite like making desserts I decided to have a go at making trifle which is something I’ve never done before. My main course – mango chicken – was also a first run which I wouldn’t normally do because I like to try things out before making them for people.

I didn’t have a trifle recipe in any of my books so online I went and found one on the Women’s Weekly website.

This is modified ever so slightly from that.

Ingredients
2 x packets jam sponge logs (I bought little sponge rolls, not the big ones)
1 x packet of wildberry jelly (any type will do)
1 x 825 tin of pears (I used peaches)
500ml custard, (optional if you make your own)
300ml fresh cream
Grand Marnier & dry sherry to taste (orange juice will do, but I used orange juice and Triple Sec which has an orange flavour)

Custard: (optional, you can just add custard purchased from supermarket)
2 level tablespoons of custard powder
1 level tablespoon of sugar
milk, enough to get desired consistency

Method
Bowl – 21cm x 9cm (deep) with a base of 13cm diameter.

First make a jelly to packet directions and refrigerate until set.

Cut the Jam Sponge Roll into slices of equal thickness. Place them around the bowl, starting from the bottom of the bowl then building them around the sides to cover the entire inside. Fill in all the gaps by halving the slices where required.

Drizzle the sherry over the cake so that it becomes moist but not soggy. Add a little Grand Marnier in the same manner for taste variation.

Mum likes to make fresh custard- combine custard powder and sugar (or less to taste), add milk slowly to form a paste then stir in the remainder. Over medium heat and stir constantly until the custard can be poured but not too runny. (I used bought custard).

Pour the custard over the Jam sponge and spoon it over the sides to fill in the gaps – then let cool, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate – this allows the sherry & Grand Marnier to meld with the custard and sponge

Once the custard is cooled take the jelly and mince it with a fork and spread over the custard – again up the sides of the bowl to fill in any gaps – then refrigerate.

Whip 300ml of fresh cream and spread over the jelly, garnish with pears cut into slices in a circular pattern around the bowl and any other seasonal fruit – berries if available – or just the pears will suffice.

The finish! This was more than enough for seven of us. JJ and I have leftovers for a couple of days and it kept just fine in the fridge.

Cup of tea anyone?

A while ago I read a recipe on how to make teacup biscuits on Planning Queen’s blog. JJ and I put it down as one our things to do during the school holidays. We finally did it.

I saved it for an occasion where we weren’t left to eat all 26 by ourselves – that would have been a bit piggy. We visited a friend who has three kids and it was one of those kids birthdays the day prior so we took most of them there.

JJ also had some left over for his lunchbox for a couple of days into the school term.

As the recipe said, we used lifesaver lollies for the handles and I had trouble cutting them in half properly. Someone mentioned to me that you could use fruitloop cereal so this might be worth a try next time.

It was a great little activity to share with my son, and quite easy to do.

On another note stay posted as I’m going to be doing a giveaway here. It will be a good one.

Last couple of days

It’s been a full-on two days so this will be quick as I still have loads to do and it’s already 9pm.

On Monday and Tuesday I handed over the job I’ve been doing for the last year to the person who was successful in applying for it recently. That’s been kind of weird. I’m now back in my substantive position which is kind of good because I’m really familiar with it and I’m in a space where not too many challenges at work is good.

It was also my birthday yesterday. So while I was trying to hand over this job I was eating cake, getting birthday phone calls, having happy birthday sung to me, going out for lunch and also having a very quick hand over from the person who’s been acting in my job.

All of this meant that I was only able to leave work ten minutes earlier than normal to get home, and drive to dinner and my usual monthly ukulele practise where I was sung happy birthday yet again and received lots of lovely birthday wishes.

I enjoy birthdays.

So this morning was a bit of a comedown until a girl in JJ’s class who I was reading to examined me and told me that I looked pretty today. I think I’ll go back and get this girl to read to me again.

Oh, and JJ asked if he could please have Google on his computer.

Why didn’t I have one before

I’m the chief washer upperer in my household and there’s certain ways I like to do it. I like to use a brush, I like to have the water as hot as possible and I use rubber gloves because of the hot water. I don’t have a dishwasher.

My dish brush was looking a bit sad and then a friend came around one night for dinner and gave me a new one.

This might sound like a weird present but I’d been at her housewarming a couple of months prior and noticed her dishwashing brush. The reason I noticed it was because it had a suction cap at the end so it can be stuck nearby inbetween uses.

I love this idea because I always battled to find a spot for mine that was out the way and when I did find a spot for it, it inevitably fell back into the sink.

She got these from IKEA. No, she didn’t get me three. I got to keep one and my mates got one each also.

Getting on with other people

Let's race

JJ and myself just spent five days away from Adelaide. We’re on holidays and this coincided with a party at a friend’s property a few hours away. We broke it up a bit by staying at a friend’s place halfway and then went to a place at Marion Bay to stay with a couple of friends and their son in a house we rented.

Their son is a few months away from turning six years old and my son is seven and a bit and it’s interesting watching the dynamics between the two of them.

One minute they’d be best of friends and the next minute they’d be at each others throats. It was usually for pretty small reasons like someone not following the rules. My son likes the rules to be followed and so does this other boy so were there some fireworks when it didn’t happen.

JJ did the right thing when he got angry and took himself to another room but he was followed and more arguing ensued. I’d say to the other kid to leave JJ alone for a bit but he just didn’t listen to me. I don’t know if I should have just let them battle it out and to a certain extent that’s what we did but more than once we had to intervene and try to explain that you don’t say or do those things to your friends.

The two boys spent a night together with the other boy’s father while his mum and I went to the party and at the back of my mind I prayed that things went okay and there were no major blow-ups. Fortunately there weren’t.

At this party (it was a weekend long camping affair) which JJ attended during the day he was fine and was really good with another kid who’s nearly three years old. He kept an eye out for him and hung around with him for a long time. It’s just with this other kid that there’s these blow-ups.

Hopefully it’s just a stage and they’ll become best of friends without fighting all the time.

And just for a change of subject, below is a photo of the landscape near where I stayed. What animal does it look like to you?

Guess the animal