Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

This post is my contribution to this week’s photo challenge Illumination.

I grew up in Blackpool, Lancashire, home to the famous Illuminations. Every year, from August until November,  the full stretch of promenade (6 miles) from Gynn Square to Star Gate is lit up with the most incredible light display using over one million bulbs. So, when it comes to lights I’m pretty hard to impress. As pretty as the Christmas Lights are here in South Wales, they’re just never going to match up.

For me to be moved by illumination, I had to go somewhere bigger, brighter and even more cheesy than Blackpool. There was only one place on Earth that fit the bill – Las Vegas!

The famous Las Vegas sign
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The jaw-droppingly spectacular biggest TV in the world
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The whole town lights up at night. It really is incredible.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

It’s only when you look back over the year that you realise how much you’ve squeezed in!

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In January I went back home to Blackpool for a friend’s wedding.

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February brought some nice weather to the UK – if only we’d known that it wasn’t going to get much better! I chilled out in the park with my Godson. My favourite feature of the park is this sculpture of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me’.

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During March I took a trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – I was happy to be on my skis again:)

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave all year, you’ll know that London hosted the Olympic Games this summer and the whole of the UK went Olympic crazy. The excitement started here in Cardiff in April when the Olympic rings were erected at the end of the mall.

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I decided to get creative with my photography in May. If you want to see some more of my egg photos, check out my pages at fotolia and Bigstock.

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To celebrate my friend’s 30th birthday in June we went camping to Port Eynon. Unfortunately the weather was a bit wet and very windy, but we still had a good time and I got to add another new place to my journal.

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In July I visited the Museum of Welsh Life. I can’t wait to go back again this summer.

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The waterfall at Cardiff Bay, and I believe also the entrance to Torchwood, in August. The strawberries are the symbol of Cardiff Festival, you see them all over the city in the summer.

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The downside to camping – drying out my tent in September.

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In October I took a much wanted break to Pisa, Italy.

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Back home in November. Our local Farmers’ Market is where you will find me most Saturday mornings.

My godson's first time ice-skating

December in Cardiff means Winter Wonderland, and that means ice-skating with my godson.

Click here to see more entries for this week’s photo challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

This post is my contribution to this week’s photo challenge: Changing Seasons. Click here to see more entries.

For almost six years I worked seasons overseas. I’m fortunate enough to say that I have worked in Austria, Greece, America and Canada, and through my work I also got to visit other amazing countries such as Switzerland, Turkey, Germany and Italy. During my time abroad I got to add many jobs to my CV including holiday rep, resort manager, waitress, barmaid, housekeeper, ski guide and videographer. I met many other season workers whilst I was travelling. Some of them were working an ‘endless summer’, chasing the sun around the globe, and others chose the ‘endless winter’ route instead, working alternate ski seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres. Many people, like me, chose to go from one extreme to the other. I would spend six months of the year, from May to October, in a hot, sunny climate and then in November I would head off to a winter resort and live in the snow until April. The changing of the seasons was something that was very evident to me. Here are a few of my favourite photos from my ‘extreme seasons’.

From chilling out on the party boat in Rhodes
From chilling out on the party boat in Rhodes…
...to another meaning of 'chilled' in the Alps on the border between Austria and Germany
…to another meaning of ‘chilled’ in the Alps on the border between Austria and Germany
Working hard behind the bar in Greece...
Working hard behind the bar in Greece…

 

...and one of my 'colleagues' in Seefeld. Every week we would take our guests llama trekking from Austria over the border into Germany.
…and one of my ‘colleagues’ in Seefeld. Every week we would take our guests llama trekking from Austria over the border into Germany.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge. Please click here to see more entries.

I am thankful for being an aunty.

I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be an aunty at an early age. My only brother was always adamant that he didn’t want children, and the church will not allow me to be an official godmother because my parents chose to not have me traditionally baptised. I am really lucky to have grown up with an aunty who has loved me unconditionally and supported me from the day I was born. I was gutted that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience the same role.

Twenty years on, and how things have changed. My brother took a u-turn on the reproducing front four years ago (to the day – it’s my nephew’s birthday today) and he and his wife now have three beautiful children. And although the church will still not allow me to be part of the actual ceremony, a few of my friends have asked me to take on the role of godmother in their children’s lives. There are now ten children who call me Aunty Sas, and I’m sure there will be more in the future.

My nephew’s flower garden

I’m thankful for helping them to learn new things.

My nephew holding a ladybug

I’m thankful for making new discoveries with them.

My godson’s Halloween pumpkin
My nephew made this artwork from a postcard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa that I sent him

I’m thankful that, like me, they love to explore their creative side.

My godson’s first time ice-skating

I’m thankful that they let me enjoy new experiences with them.

My goddaughter trying to drown out the noise of a fire engine
My godson disguised as a chipmunk

I’m thankful when they make me laugh.

My godson on a camping trip to Whitesands

And I’m thankful for all the great adventures I have with them.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it! Thank you for allowing us all to be part of your celebration. I would like to dedicate this post to my Aunty Jackie, the best role model I could have wished for in how to be a great aunty.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

The word renewal conjures up many images. The rebirth of flowers in spring, snakes shedding their skin, the regeneration of a town centre, renewing your library books to avoid a fine (which I have a terrible habit of forgetting), the list goes on.

For this week’s photo challenge, I’ve decided to document my personal renewal. Four years ago, I consciously made a lot of big changes in my life. At 28 years old, after six years working abroad, I moved back to the UK.

I made a base in Cardiff, the place that has felt most like home to me out of all the places I’ve lived.

I learnt to speak Welsh.

After years of partying and abusing my body, I promised myself that I would look after myself in my thirties. This has led to me converting to a plant-based lifestyle, eating fresh, seasonal whole food …

…cooking my food from scratch…

…improving my fitness levels…

…and taking up lots of new sports.

To celebrate my 30th birthday I took a trip of a lifetime to the USA and visited the Grand Canyon, a long-held ambition of mine.

I’ve continued to travel and experience as many adventures as possible.

My renewal is still taking place. Maybe it will never end. I hope not, because I’m loving life and I’m happier than ever.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

As I can’t read Italian, all the words in this photo are foreign to me. No matter where you are in the world, though, signs and symbols will tell you all you need to know. The green man lets me know it’s safe(r than average to cross the road – in Italy the green man doesn’t necessarily mean that the traffic has to stop) and the pictures on the signs direct me to the tourist attractions.