29 June 2013

Managing your blogs on bloglovin

There have been a few online conversations recently about the demise of google reader and the switch to other platforms. I never used google reader so my opinion of bloglovin is probably skewed. That said, I am really enjoying the platform and find it has made my blog reading so much easier.

One thing I would say with bloglovin though is that there are some great features which are quite hidden. For instance I found out a few days back that you can manage your blogs on bloglovin. This has totally changed how I read blogs.

I am fairly new to using a reader so there were points when I logged onto bloglovin to find that I had over seventy unread posts. I freaked.

Now I am managing my blogs the reading is more contained! I know bloglovin isn't the best to get your head around though so as a bit of fun I have recorded a video to show how to manage blogs and how it has changed what I read when.

I am a bit nervous posting this as for the first time you get to hear my voice (and my awkward rambling!) You may need to push the sound up too! Enjoy! 

bloglovin managing from Abigail Beach on Vimeo.

27 June 2013

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

Hey you. Welcome back.

Another month has flown around and I want to welcome you back into my kitchen for a mug of tea, a pot of coffee, a glass of juice or perhaps something stronger! 

If I was with you today I would greet you at the back door as you pushed open the creaking garden gate. I would usher you to our patio chairs where a teapot would be waiting alongside some of the middle brothers birthday cake. It is one of those days when the sun keeps popping up behind the clouds and when it does it turns quite warm. 

As I poured you the first steaming cup and I would welcome you to our family home. I would tell you that I have so many mixed feelings about coming home for the holidays. That I love family time, that I feel blessed to have such a caring fun family. That the holidays whatever they entail will be sure to be exciting and restful. But on the other hand I feel I have made a life in Durham. The transition from a very independent life at uni to one at home is always interesting. I would laugh as I told you stories about the wonderful friends I have made this year. How we are planning on regular skype chats to keep us all in the loop. I would tell you that coming home means missing them and how that is always hard. I would ask you, if you went to uni, how you found the transition coming home? 

I would cradle my mug in my hands and offer you a slice of that delicious birthday cake. The middle brothers girlfriend made it and it is the perfect combination of icing and lemon flavoured cake. I would tell you that I came home on his birthday and the house was full of people. That it was lovely to celebrate with him and that he received several new board games. I would roll my eyes as I told you that he is becoming a board game geek. That at the last count we now have 65, yes 65 board games in our house. That said I would smile and mention that the laughter, competitivness and family time that comes with a board game cannot be beaten. Do you play board games? 

Our silly black cat would come and curl around your ankles and I would ask you how your week has gone? Have you done anything exciting? I would mention that I got to go to a ball with the boy. I would tell you that it was vey different to our ball at college but just as much fun. That dancing with the boy is the best and that he really does pull out all the dad dance moves. I would tell you though with a hint of regret in my voice that I didn't manage to get any pictures that I really love although this one snapped the morning after summed up the evening quite well. 

As I poured the second cup- you can't fit another one in you say, never mind, have some more cake- I would ask you what your summer plans were? I would tell you with excitement that I am working on a commission for my Grandma. She wants wooden coat hangers turned into padded ones. I have to admit that padded coat hangers aren't really my cup of tea but I am finding them really fun to make although I may be singing a different tune after making the tenth! I am trying and failing to get a job although I do have a few babysitting jobs lined up and I am working on a fun if ambitious project for the blog. Stay tuned! 

The sun would be going behind the clouds again and as the air got colder you would pick up your bags and I would walk you to the gate. We would hug and comment about how nice this regular meet up is. How great blog friendships are and how wonderful that we can do life together. 

If you were meeting with me now, what would you tell me? 

If you would like to write a "tea" post please add it to the linky at the bottom so we can all sit and share with you! The linky will be open for a week so you have plenty of time! 

26 June 2013

Project life week 25 and a reminder

I was far more on the ball with Project life this week and managed to do this weeks spread in one sitting which is unheard of for me!

So week 25...

A lot less this week and all bar one are instagrams. As I said last week, it is the variety that each week brings which makes this project unique.  Although it is often more fun to scrap with SLR photos, the reality is that some weeks are quieter and I only have instagrams to work with. That does mean though that there is space to include the little detail pictures like the leaf that on a busier week would have been left out.

With less photos comes more journalling. I included two quotes this week which seemed to sum up the end of the university year. On the left hand spread I documented our trip to Newcastle and finding the amazing coke bottles with the boy and my names on. On the right hand spread I wrote about leaving college and going to the ball with the boy.

As we have now nearly reached half way I treated myself to the journalling cards from the Project Life Midnight edition. So many lovely ones to choose from. I especially loved that circle stamped splodge. I wasn't overly keen on the initial grey colour the set came in though so changed it to the grey that was used in the seafoam kit.

Anything else: 
There was an interesting comment in jot magazine about how project life really requires a change in mindset. That pages will clash and will look busy. I think part of the fun of project life is letting go of the fact that the pages will all look the same but also trying to create some sort of cohesion in the album.
I am still so enjoying this project.

Reminder: Tomorrow I am going to be sitting down and pouring myself a virtual cup of tea and sharing a bit of the goings on in my world. I would be honoured if you would join me by stopping by, writing your own tea post or just saying hi! I have written more of an explanation about what "time for tea"is on a new page under my header. 

24 June 2013

Life right now according to instagram

This last month seems to have gone in the blink of an eye. There was the mad rush to the end of term with all sorts of events and then the chaos of packing and moving. I am home now though so hopefully a more normal blogging schedule.

This is what life looked like in June...

Top row left to right: chilling in the sun (which didn't last long I hate to say). We went on lots of walks and took sunny photos.

Middle row: A treat after exams finished, pimms on the lawn and getting my reading list for the Harry Potter module next year.

Bottom row: Dramatic summer skies, having a relaxing Sunday after a late night and staying up to watch the sunset.

Top row: Enjoying strawberries, chilling with the boy and taking lots of photos of clouds.

Middle row: I taught my friend how to sew her own camera strap. My favourite shoes bit the dust. We got Henna paint at our college day.

Bottom row: Visiting the beach, a final view of the cathedral and leaving Durham.

Such a good month. As always if you would like to follow me on instagram my username is abibeach

22 June 2013

Project Life week 24

The uni term has finished so I am so behind with getting project life up but having just downloaded the latest issue of Jot magazine- go check it out- I was inspired to get this weeks spread up on the blog.

It was another of those weeks that I love, when the photo pile is so big I am with wondering how to include them all rather than scrape around for photos I don't have. It makes me laugh how my uni friends now get project life to the extent that one of them came up to me last week and was wondering how I was going to be able to include everything that had happened as we had so many pictures from the last week!

The first spread documents two events, my college day and our trip to York. The college day is essentially a garden fete with big inflatables, pimms on the lawn and live music. We were all given matching t shirts so it was fun to include the photos of that.

The second spread documents the Summer Ball and a trip to the Beach with my small group from Church. One of the reasons I enjoy project life is that it doesn't just record the main events. This week was full of big events but next week really won't be and I like the fact that the everyday and the occasions sit side by side.

Not  a huge amount as I wanted the photos to do the talking. I wrote a little bit about the ball, a bit about college day and then added labels and sentences to the rest. I still really enjoy writing directly onto a photo.

I made my own quote card out of a fun photo of my friend on an inflatable. The quote is repeated across the black and white photo and says "the best thing to hold onto in life is each other."
I changed a few photos to black and white because I sometimes think it gives more impact.

Anything else: 
Still loving this project and feel like I have got back into the groove again. I am interested to see how the project will pan out over the long summer break.

If you are doing project life are you enjoying it? Have you discovered Jot magazine. I felt very honoured to be friends with some of the contributors in it!

19 June 2013

The Spring Photo

A few weeks back I was looking through some recent photos. This one of the boy and me jumped out at me and I felt it needed a bit of editing so changed it to black and white. 

I love this photo and it triggered other photos to mind. There they were. Three photos, three similar poses. Three "selfies" with the camera held out in front of us. 
I went back through the blog and found the dates for all three. They were all taken in the Spring in some field or other. 

It makes me laugh to think that this photo happens spontaneously, without conscious planning, without a thought that this is "the spring photo". 

I love the progression of the photos, sitting side by side. They say, "I love this man and we have captured this moment again and again and again."

Do you find you have series of photos like this? 

17 June 2013

Summer Ball

I love any chance to dress up. The getting ready is always as much fun as the event and Saturday night was no exception. Naturally there was the last minute scramble for tights with no ladders in them, the right earrings and finding that elusive bobby pin. 

Our Summer ball was held at a beautiful rambling country house just outside Durham. There were drinks in a beautiful wood panelled room and we ate in a hall with ivy wrapped around the pillars. There was dancing to a live band, a casino, a fairground ride and dressing up for a photo booth. 

It was the best way to celebrate the end of the year with college and good friends. I feel so blessed to have found such a community at university and to have had such a good year. 

Who doesn't love a good ball?! 

16 June 2013

Giveaway winners..

So I asked this lovely lady to help me draw the winners of my "made in Britain" tape giveaway. (More pictures of the ball to come!)

The winners are

Debs14 and Miram.

If you two ladies wouldn't mind emailing me your address and I can get your tape sent out! (My email link is just under my header.)

15 June 2013

Luck for Lunch

We are wandering through York.
It is my first time visiting this sweet city and I am sold. It is like a bigger version of Durham.
I am enjoying the cobbled streets, the quaint shops and the history.

I am hungry though and our group of six start to search for somewhere to eat.
We pass a purple awning with a cheerful twenty something standing outside with an apron on.
He smiles at us, and then bursts into song to get us to come in.
We laugh and approach the deli windows.
The tarts and the cakes look so good.
We look at each other, trying to gauge each others thoughts.
My tummy rumbles. "Let's go in" I say.
The twenty something shoots us a winning smile and we all giggle in only the way a group of female students can.

I choose a chicken and chorizo pannini. I go up to the desk to pay.
There is a dice there and I look at the owner quizically.
He tells me that before I pay I get to roll the dice and if I roll a six my lunch is reduced to £1!
Today has suddenly become more exciting.
We crowd around in expectation.
Today is not my lucky day and I roll a one.

Two of my friends roll sixes and we are half excited and envious as they pay just a pound for their lunch.
Our delicious food arrives and we sit laughing and giggling at this funny little cafe. Enjoying spending time together out of Durham for a while.

Today I am joining in with Alexa's beautiful meme, "Simply a Moment." Do stop by her blog to read both Alexa's words and other bloggers as they record their moments. 

13 June 2013

Project Life- week 23

Week 23 folks. So week 22 didn't get posted but it did get made. 
Onwards though with this week. 

Mostly instagram photos this week. I love that top left photo of the cathedral. One evening last week we found a good hill and watched the sun set over Durham, cuddled up in quilts with a flask of hot chocolate. I am also in love with the series of photos of the boy and me. I will do a proper post on them in the next week or so.

The left hand page documents our sunset walk and things that have made me happy. The journalling card is from the "Olive" edition P.L kit and I enjoyed writing to that "happiness is.." prompt.

The right hand page is all about the week of mission I did with my church called "June Project". I wanted to document how I found the week and also to include some song lyrics that really spoke to me.

I am still trying to change it up a little each week. But often fall back on my old favourites like that watercolour stamp, writing directly on photos and wrap around tags. At the end of the day I think these are effects I would use the most if I was doing PL in paper form.

Anything else: 
So I just got all cool and made a QR code! (Basically this is a code that can be scanned with a smartphone which then links to a web page.) My church made an amazing video which summed up all we did during the mission week. I wanted to include that link so thought it would be fun to add this code. It was so easy to make, I just typed "QR code generator" into google and then copy and pasted the URL into it.

If you want to watch the video it is here. See if you can spot me!

I think I am finding my mojo again with this project. Possibly because my photos are sunnier, brighter and generally more fun!

11 June 2013

Made in Britain- a giveaway

The other week I shared some of the beautiful things Alinor sent me in my swap package.
One of them was a scrap of the most beautiful soft fabric.
I knew I wanted to make it into something and it was just big enough for a little purse to hold my glasses.

I used the same method as I did for my last purse. It was super easy and really quick.
The only thing that was missing was a zip.
I pulled on a coat and quickly walked down to the haberdashers store in Durham Market.

The zip was so cheap ( I love the North) but on my way out I spotted this twill tape and couldn't resist.
I had never added a label to a sewing project before but it was easy enough with a zig zag stitch.

I like the finished touch it gives.

Whilst there I picked a few extra lengths of the tape so I have two half metre lengths to give away.

If you would like a chance to win some of this sweet ribbon just leave a comment and I will draw a winner by the end of the week! 

9 June 2013


June, and the Sun seems to have finally started to get its act together. This is what's been happening this month. 


Paper Aeroplanes. These are a new find. They are soft and mellow and I can't stop listening to them. This song is "little letters" but give their album a listen because there are some gems. 

I am in-between books at the moment which is frustrating so I think another trip to the library is in order. I have finished two books by Victoria Hislop, "The Thread" and "The Island". Both were so good and real page turners. 

In my head are the plans for a sewing project but I'm afraid no pictures as of yet.

I have spent my week in this t-shirt. Hence my lack of commenting and blog reading! I'm sorry. I missed stopping by your slices of the web and I missed posting. I had the best week though doing community work and mission with my church.

What are you reading, wearing, planning or listening to this  month?

5 June 2013

The fabled field

I have shared this photos on facebook so I'm sorry if for some of you this isn't the first time you have seen them!

A while back my friend A, decided to go on a hunt for the fabled field in Durham. She had seen this photo of a flower covered hill overlooking the city and was determined to find it. Try as we might we couldn't seem to find the same view.

Fast forward to this weekend and the boy came to visit. I took him to our favourite walk in Durham. A place called observatory hill. To my surprise it was covered in beautiful yellow buttercups and we took a few photos there on our phones.

No sooner had I got back to college than my friend A. came running to find me asking me where the photos were taken because in her words "I had found the flower field'.
Inadvertently we had stumbled across it in full bloom and it became the photo she was imagining!

On Sunday afternoon we marched up there again armed with the big cameras and blessed with a clear blue sky.

Pure magic friends. It was worth waiting for.

4 June 2013

My fellow photographer

I am glad I found this girl at uni.
She is my fellow photographer. My SLR friend, my instagram buddy.
We aren't competitive but when it comes to number of photos instagrammed we are both trying to win!

On Sunday we walked up to one of my favourite places in Durham.
It is the most beautiful hill that overlooks the whole city. At the moment it is covered in flowers and it is just perfect.
We took the cameras up and came away with hundreds of photos.
I will share more later in the week but it made me laugh to see how many I had like this...

She is my mirror image. This is what I must look like. Camera to eye, getting down low, seeing the world through a lens and trying to capture its beauty.

I'm so glad she is my friend and loves her camera as much as I love mine, that she humours me about getting the "perfect" shot and can talk settings and lenses with me all afternoon.

Do you have a fellow photography lover in your life?

I'm a bit behind on commenting and catching up with all your lovely blogs. This weekend was quite busy but I am enjoying filling in the gaps of what I missed! 

2 June 2013

Storytelling Sunday- a precious place

I didn't have a precious for this storytelling Sunday. 
Most of my "precious" items are sitting at home on bookcases and in boxes. 
Instead I looked through my photos and this one taken just yesterday jumped out at me. 

I don't think I've ever been overly attached to one place.
There has never been a location I have become distinctly nostalgic for. Boarding school is perhaps the place I regard most fondly. I have moved house enough times to know that location isn't all that matters.

That said, if I ever was to view a location with rose tinted spectacles I think it would be Durham.
Funny that. Just one year and this place has become precious.
This funny little "city" high on the hill enclosed by river.
It's beautiful and characterful but I don't think I can pin point it's preciousness to that.

I think its precious because I have been so happy here.
I have found the best, funniest, sweetest people to share life with and next year share a house with.
Despite all my complaining about work, Durham represents the start of a a degree, the start of asking "big" academic questions. (or in my case, questions like what King we are now studying, having totally lost track of what was going on in the lecture. Don't ask.)

Durham is also the first place which I can call "mine". The first location that has no real connection to Mum or Dad or any other member of my family. It's the place I have chosen to set up a life in for three years.

It's also a place I chose, I prayed about, I put into God's hands and he was faithful in providing a church, friendship and peace.  That has to be counted as precious.

So yes, a bit mushy, and a tad cheesy but this funny little city has, out of the blue, become one of my precious things.

Today I am joining in with the lovely Sian and her Storytelling Sunday- pick your precious. Do pop over to visit other bloggers and read about their precious things.