"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

"Don't think, feel....it is like a finger pointing towards the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!" -Bruce Lee

Friday, January 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday: I see some blue!

Originally uploaded by kipperfrog
Yay! Blue Sky for Photo Friday!! Maybe Spring is on the way.. there are buds on the trees, the grass is starting to look extra green, the daffodils are coming up in the garden, and it's definitely getting warmer now.. that probably means it's about time for a bit more snow!


We passed our rock climbing safety test last night, so we are now official members of the rock climbing centre and don't need supervision anymore! We also got 25% off in the shop so we got all kitted out! The shoes are great, we couldn't wait to try them out at home.. It turns out they work pretty well for climbing up the ledge on the outside of the stairs! Hehe.. Won't be doing that too often though, I don't fancy forking out for new banisters!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I love this Super Mario wedding cake! I just spotted it on cake wrecks and had to share.. the detail is absolutely beautiful, all the little mushrooms and banana skins and flying turtle shells! Perfect! The only thing missing is Yoshi, but maybe he's around the other side, eating apples..

We just got back from our final rock climbing lesson of the beginner course. It was loads of fun, and neither of us fell off at all this time! It's amazing the improvement we've both made in just three weeks. Things that were so difficult in the first session are so much easier now. It's nice to be able to see marked changes over time, like being able to get up the wall faster, and getting up higher than before. Today we blitzed the beginner routes, and didn't do to bad on the intermediate either, so I'm happy with that! We also tried bouldering, which is less of the climbing up, and more of the climbing across - staying not far off the ground, and trying to get all around the edge. Very fun! Luckily there weren't too many people trying to climb up the wall for us to get in the way of, or we'd have had some annoyed climbers I think!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Rain, rain, rain

Originally uploaded by kipperfrog
It's Skywatch Friday-day again! The snow's gone, and now it's the rain! Bad photo I'm afraid, I had to take it quickly because people were looking at me like a freak for taking photos of the rubbish weather!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The wall

So here's a picture of the wall we practiced falling off on Sunday ... and of course, James looking slightly scared at the price of all this climbing equipment we're going to have to fork out for at the end of the course!

The good news is, not so much pain this week! I think the muscles must be getting used to it a bit more now.. Bouldering next week apparently, that should be interesting! I will be surprised if I can get off the ground at all!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vegetable Tagine

Inspired by Fink's absolutely delicious tagine I tried a few years ago, on Thursday night I thought I'd have a go at making one myself. Tagine and couscous is just so yummy, and definitely the sort of thing that warms you up when the weather's all cold.

So I did a bit of investigating, and decided to mix up a few different recipes to see what happened. I remembered that Fink prepared his over a few days, and most of the recipes on the Internet pretty much agreed, but I was feeling impatient and wanted to eat it that night, so that's what I did!

I combined Fink's lamb tagine recipe with Anthony Worrall Thompson's version, with a vegetarian version called Jossy's Moorish vegetable tagine found on Times Online, with a bit of extra customisation from me. I think it turned out pretty well, although funnily enough I saved some of it in the fridge overnight, cooked it up as a side to go with supper yesterday and it was so much more delicious and nowhere near as spicy hot! So, if you fancy using this recipe, I would recommend leaving it to stew for a nice long time.

Serves: 2/3

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsbp tomato purée
- 1½ tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1½ tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- some ground black pepper
- 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large onions, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red pepper, cut into small pieces
- 75g flaked almonds
- 55g/2oz sultanas and raisins
- 115g/4oz dried apricots, cut in half
- 55g/2oz dates, cut in half
- baby carrots
- 600ml/1 pint vegetable stock
- 1/2 tin of chickpeas
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped


1. Put the baby carrots (each chopped in half) on to boil for 5 mins.
2. Put the olive oil and lemon juice into a separate (I used a wok) under a low heat.
2. Mix in the tomato puree, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper and ground ginger
3. Next add the chopped plum tomatoes and red pepper, and let it simmer for a while.
4. In a frying pan, fry the grated onion and garlic until lightly browned, then add this to the wok.
5. Strain off the carrots and add to the wok.
6. Add a cube of vegetable stock to the wok, along with some boiling water.
7. Leave to simmer for about half an hour.
8. Add the flaked almonds, raisins, sultanas, dates, apricots and chickpeas, then leave to simmer for another half an hour.
9. Lastly, add the honey and then the coriander.
10. Serve with lemon and coriander flavoured couscous.

I think the key to making this work is to keep trying it to make sure that the flavour is right, and definitely leaving it to simmer on a low heat for as long as possible, because it will just make it tastier!

I'm afraid I don't have any photos because we gobbled it all up! Tonight, we are travelling North in our food style and heading for Spain.. it is tapas night! I will try and remember to take some photos this time..

Friday, January 15, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Denbies Vineyard in the fog

Denbies Vineyard
Originally uploaded by kipperfrog
Yay, it's Skywatch Friday again! Err, slight problem.. what sky?! Well, it looks like the snow hasn't melted yet in Dorking! I walked over to Denbies at lunchtime today to get some photos in all the fog. It was unbelievable, you could hardly even see Box Hill.. first snow, then fog, I think we're due the rain tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tree house

While I remember, I just have to post a link to this.. The Tree House, Castle Cottage B&B, Petworth in our very own West Sussex!

I saw James playing around on Playstation Home earlier - it's this 3D environment you can walk around and interact with as an avatar, a bit like Second Life but on the PS3. It's amazing how many different locations they've added since it first came out! Anyway, I noticed this beautiful house that he was walking around, it was a huge tree house, with a great big tree running up through the middle of it! Fantastic!

It reminded me of Dave Gorman's America Unchained book I was reading a while ago where he stayed at a variety of unusual hotels all across America, including a tree house community! So, I was looking it up to show to James, and I ended up stumbling across a tree house B&B right on our doorstep in Petworth, hooray! A visit to this place is definitely going on my to-do list!


Kew Gardens
Originally uploaded by kipperfrog
Hmm.. something has definitely happened to my brain since our rock climbing lesson last Sunday, I am now looking at this picture trying to see hand grips! Rock climbing was lots of fun, but I am definitely paying for it now! 2 solid hours of climbing up 12 metre walls and then abseiling down again has made me acutely aware of many many muscles I never knew I had before! I think we were doing slightly more climbing than beginners usually get to do actually, as normally there are about 6 people on the course we're on, but this time it's just the two of us, so lots more time for climbing! He had us doing a wall that tilts backwards and everything, but ouch.. hand pain! Goodness knows what next week will bring, better have lots of hot baths before then!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Snow snow snow..

Horsham snow
Originally uploaded by kipperfrog
What a snowy week! I haven't actually been in to work since Tuesday! I only wish it wasn't so annoying working from home, the Internet connection is so slow, it took 2 hours to save this script I was working on, where it takes about 2 seconds from the office :S! No matter though, it's cool being at home in the snow, waking up and finding that someone has deposited a playground outside your front door! James and I went out and built a big snowman at the end of the road late on Tuesday night when it had already got to about a foot deep, and all our neighbours were laughing at us. Good juvenile fun! We then had to throw snowballs at our Sky dish to knock all the snow off, it really works! It's got a bit deeper now after a few days of snow, and we only just managed to get our car out of the drive for the first time today.. there was lots of wheelspin and not much else yesterday! It does make you appreciate the 4x4s when you see your neighbours drive straight off.. hmm.. they may look ridiculously over the top in the summer, but in the snow, you do kinda want one!

It's funny, we went to Blacks in town today, I have never ever seen it so busy in there! I've also never seen Horsham so full of adults and kids kitted out in skiwear, and teenagers in thin jumpers looking like they're about to cry! Talking of ski clothes, I think we've finally come up with the key to staying warm in the snow.. it's all about the layers! Here's the best combo if you ask me..
-waterproof shoes (Merrells rule!)
-brasher socks
-base layer leggings
-ski trousers
-base layer long sleeve top
-ski jacket
-wooly hat
Failing that, Bear Grylls recommends naked push-ups, it's up to you!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Decade stats

I've been reading a few different round-ups of the last century, now that it's over and all, and it got me thinking about some of the things I've done in the last ten years, and well, it kind of turned into a bit of a random stat fest..

1. I've finished school, sixth form and uni - got 11 GCSEs, 3 and 1/2 A levels, Russian GOLF (graded objectives for adults learning foreign languages) level 1, and a degree in AI
2. I've lived in 4 towns, 6 houses (including uni)
2. I've been to 6 weddings, and got married!
3. I've been made an Auntie twice
4. I've started blogging and flickring
5. I've signed up to 6 social networking websites, and worked for 1
6. I've written 333 blog posts, and had 10,197 blog visitors since May 2005
7. I've uploaded 8,220 photos to flickr, and had 15, 021 views since May 2005
8. I've helped add 1657 people to the family tree on GenesReunited
9. I've travelled to 15 different countries
10. I've seen 7 West End musicals
11. I've had 4 jobs (aside from temping), and avoided outsourcing twice
12. I've been to 3 conferences
13. I've been to 5 geek conventions
14. I've watched 202 episodes of the X files, 238 episodes of friends, 183 episodes of Smallville, 144 episodes of Buffy, and 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation
15. Ok, this list has got to stop, it's getting incriminating!

Summer 2003
Originally uploaded by kipperfrog

Our Wedding
Originally uploaded by kipperfrog

Once in a Blue Moon..

New Year's Eve
Originally uploaded by kipperfrog
Happy New Year everybody! =) Let's hope 2010 is a good one! It does sound extremely futuristic and cool, so there is promise. We've already booked up a few things to look forward to this month, we've got a rock climbing course, and IMAX Avatar tickets! Hopefully I'm not jinxing anything by mentioning them on here (like Twelfth Night, boo!), stay away snow!!

So, apparently we saw an actual real live blue moon on New Year's Eve, how exciting! I must admit, I made James take a photo of it because it was a blue moon before I actually had any idea what one was.. I just saw something in my RSS feeds from National Geographic or New Scientist that it was one! I did think it was particularly bright, it seemed like dusk kind of darkness even at midnight! It turns out that blue moons aren't actually anything to do with the moon being blue at all, it's just a name given to the second full moon that occurs in a single month, which is pretty rare (only every 2 and a half years).. how bizarre! If you're interested, wikipedia thinks it's derived from the Old English word belewe, which can mean either "blue" or "betrayer". Apparently "betrayer moon" was a term that could have been used to refer to a disconcerting extra full moon in late winter, that fooled people into starting Lent a little too early. The clergy would have to tell people that it was a fake imposter Lent moon, instead of the genuine article! If you weren't interested, it's too late now, sorry.