Wednesday, 21 November 2012

~ Hoi An - Part 1 ~

A little behind but desperately trying to catch up with myself.
On Sunday we had a morning walking tour of Hoi An. This is a gorgeous old town with architecture from french, chinese, japanese and vietnamese influences. The main centre and aroundthe dock is pedestrian, cyclo and motorbike only so the bus dropped us on the outskirts and we walked in.
Firstly we stopped at Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall which is a Chinese Temple used by the local community. Above is the gateway in to its beautiful courtyard. Inside the temple were tens of spiral incense sticks which hang fromt he ceiling, each one has been donated by a family and has a message hung in the centre.

Unfortunately due to a tropical depression which has been affecting Vietnam's weather it began to drizzle with rain during our tour. Second on the sightseeing list was the Japanese Covered Bridge, only 1 of 2 in Vietnam.
We then visited Phung Hung which is a house of architectural importance as it contains French, Chinese and Vietnamese designs. I was abit disappointed as it was more like a selling opportunity. The lady of the house was more interested in showing us table cloths than actually showing us the house's features.
We then walked aside the river where the dock was. All along the riverside were brightly coloured lanterns hanging in trees.

We stopped at a local restaurant for a drink and then some lunch. Mum and I shared White Rose Dumplings and a chilli and gorgonzola pizza (not very vietnamese but very tasty!).
In the afternoon we took a boat trip across the river to one of the islands. The inhabitants have set up a co-operative to give cycle tours of the are to the tourists. I hadn't really been on a bike properly for about 12 years.

The bikes were rickety and rusty but worked well. I really enjoyed the tour even though it was raining and we got very wet! On the tour we stopped off at a Conical makers house (local fishing boat), a bed mat maker, a mandarin's house and a woodcarvers. In total we covered about 12km. It was a nice ride as most of the journey was flat.

In the evening we visited 'Morning Glory' for our evening meal. It was a lovely meal although some bits were abit greasy for me. I loved the BBQ chicken with lime leaves. Above I am eating the local speciality of crispy pancake wrapped in rice flour pancake.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

~ Ha Long Bay ~

A bit behind time but here we go! Our next part was an overnight trip to Ha Long Bay which I must say is breath taking. So after a 3.5 hour bus journey we joined a boat for 2 days.
Unfortunately the weather on the first day was a little hazy so the islands were not clealy seen by the camera. We had a fantastic 3 course lunch before heading off to Luon Cave. We went via a small wooden boat through a cave in to a small lagoon.
After this we sailed for a little while before going to Tiptop island, which has a man-made beach and the opportunity to walk up 427 steep steps to reach the summit and its amazing views (unfortunately this was hampered by being involved in a medical emergency, thankfully someone took some photos with my camera for me!)

The views from the top were stunning and you could see for miles!

I was fortunate to catch a quick glimpse of the stunning sunset over the bay.

One of the chefs showed us how to create decorative objects from food such as tomato roses. We had a leisurely evening of food and a lovely massage.

After getting up at 5.15am to see the disappointing sunrise (as it was too cloudy!) we had a session of Tai Chi on the deck of the boat. This was highly amusing and certainly woke us up.

The final part of our trip to Ha Long Bay was to visit the Surprise Cave which is a hugh cave system containing 4 very large spectacular caves. We then had breakfast and set sail for the mainland and Hanoi Airport.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

~ Hanoi - A day in the Capital ~

An early start today to beat the crowds at the various monuments we were visiting. First up was a short bus journey to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. It was an amazing building in beautiful grounds. (Although I have to say visiting a dead person was not what I would call a holiday attraction!). 

The mausoleum, palace and house on stilts are all governed by the Honor Guards, who were rather scary with their bayonets.

We had lots of insight in to Vietnam's history today including Uncle Ho's huge role in Vietnam's independence from the French. We visited the service quarters which Ho Chi Minh used instead of the Presidential Palace and then the house on stilts which was built for him by the people. After this we briefly stopped by the one pillar pagoda.
This beautiful archwayis at the Temple of Literature which is where Confucious lived and taught his disciples. This is a very important place for Vietnamese people and many try to follow in Confucious' teachings.

 Many people visit the Confucious Temple to worship his statue and ask for assistance in exams. Many people come here to have photos taken when they graduate from college.
We then had some free time where we had lunch (Hanoi spring rolls and Beef fried rice), a leisurely coffee and wrote postcards home.
The evening was taken up by a walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter to the Water Puppet Theatre. The show was interesting but once you had seen a few of the sketches I had had enough. Luckily it only lasted about 45 minutes.

Tonights group meal was at 'Little Hanoi' and consisted of a 4 course banquet. Pumpkin soup, Spring Rolls, 5 spice chicken, catfish with dill, Caramelised Pork, Grilled aubergine and steamed rice. Dessert was a selection of fresh fruit. All of which was washed down nicely with local beer.
All packed and ready to set sail in Ha Long Bay tomorrow!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

~ Cha Ca ~

Tonight the whole group (14 of us) went out to a local fish restaurant which serves only one dish - Cha Ca. Which is a speciality of Northern Vietnam.
It consists of fish that is fried at your table, then you add vermicelli noodles, peanuts, chilli, spring onions and dill. Then finally add a dash of fish sauce to the mix.

The restaurant was recommended by our tour leader and was well worth it. We enjoyed ample food and a drink each for the measly price of 170,000 VND (Approx £5). It was abit of a DIY meal as all the ingredients were in individual bowls, but that was ideal for me as it meant I didn't end up with too much green stuff!
Mum and I then enjoyed a cocktail and a milkshake in the hotel bar (which cost nearly as much as the meal!)
Busy day with an early start tomorrow so off to bed now and hoping the jetlag doesn't affect me too much.

~ Good Morning Vietnam! ~

Hello there ... it's been a long while since I used my blog, not sure where the time has gone. I have just arrived in Vietnam for a touring holiday and am going to use this as a travel journal to try and jog my memory for when I scrapbook the photos. So if this is not of interest to you then please bear with me.
We traveled to Gatwick via train on Monday 12th November 2012 and stayed overnight at the Hilton. We then boarded a Vietnam Airlines Boeing 777 at lunchtime on the 13th November. The journey took around 11 hours and the highlight was the Vietnamese 'pot noodles' available.
On arrival at Hanoi we were met by our tour leader, Long and after a short bus journey we arrived at our first hotel. As the rooms were not ready to check in we all went for a traditional Vietnamese breakfast of Chicken Noodle Soup - I have to say it was gorgeous even though I wasn't hungry.
We checked in and settled in to our rooms. I checked the wifi connection was working. The hotel room is beautifully decorated.

After a short break we decided to go for a wander around Hanoi, starting with the Truc Bach Lake. It was very hazy and humid here. 

After we wandered the streets, practising our road crossing technique, as you simply have to walk out in to the traffic and keep going at a steady speed. So far so good.

Throughout the streets are little bird cages with finches dotted around on shop fronts and across pedestrian walkways. Not sure of their significance at the moment.

One thing is for sure, if living in Hanoi you must travel by motorcycle. Everywhere you go there are hundreds. You can't even walk on the pavement as they have them parked all over it.
Off for a traditional fish meal at 'Chaca' tonight.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

~ A jar of hearts ~

These cards were made using the Scrapagogo April kit, as I said I'm trying to use up as much stash as I can (then I can buy more!). These cards were inspired by Scrapagogo's Design Team member Nicola Kerridge's fabulous card.

I used a Stampin' Up flower stamp and a Papermania Urban sentiment added to the monthly kit. These cards were so simple to make but I think they are really cute!

Well unfortunately this weekend I'm working so no fun and games for me. Looking forward to a few days away next weekend!

Happy Crafting!

Friday, 13 July 2012

~ Quackers! ~

Well I'm back in full swing so expect more posts from me over the next few weeks. I must say I'm getting absolutely fed up of the delightful British summertime but at least it means i have had time to sort my craft room.

I have finally managed to crack open my Scrapagogo June kit, which is full of lovely Amy Tangerine patterned paper! I love the Amy Tangerine Thickers.

(Apologies for the photo quality!)

The photo is from Girlguiding UK's Centenary Event called Fusion which was held @ Harewood House near Leeds in 2010. Whilst walking round I came across these Policemen posing with Centenary Ducks on their heads?! It just had to be scrapped.

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

~ Wall decore ~

I have finally gotten round to updating my decorative frames since moving in a few weeks ago. Didn't reslly want lots of photos of myself around the place so I decided to use holiday snaps for these layouts, even though I have scrapped my tigers numerous times!

I couldn't decide whether or not to put titles on them but decided they looked unfinished without. 'A walk on the wild side' was created using the Scrapagogo March kit, which I think has been my favourite so far. Really versatile. I justadded a couple of extra embellishments from my Tim Holtz collection.

'A little fall of rain' is again created with another Scrapagogo kit but one from a long while ago. I'm really trying to use up some of my stash mountain. I love this photo as it is the Taj Mahal in the rain, stunning even in a monsoon!

Both layouts are quite simple but I didn't want too much as they are going on the wall in my living room. I have a few more frames to jazz up over the next few months.

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

~ AWOL ~

Well it has been along time since I posted on my blog, my apologies for being AWOL however I have had good reason. Mostly it is because I have been moving in to my own house and before I could do so it needed some work doing.

Then obviously comes the mammoth job of unpacking my craft stuff and trying to organise it in to some sort of useful order (I really must go on a stash diet!). So I have 2 wonderful Scrapagogo kits and some lovely Stampin' Up goodies to play with. I haven't been completely useless over the last few months as I have managed to get quite a few photos taken in readiness. So watch this space ...

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

~ A sneak peek! ~

A quick post from me today to give you a sneak peek of something that I'm working on at the moment. It can't be completed yet and will be a work in progress over at least the next year! 

I can tell you that it is going to be using the Simple Stories products that I purchased from the March Gogogetaway!

I'm off to my Monthly Stampin' Up class tomorrow, can't wait to see what we are creating.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, 7 May 2012

~Hide and Seek~

Well the Sun is shining on this Bank Holiday Monday, so far so good. Doubt it will stay like this with the weather forecast.

Here is a layout I completed yesterday for the Two Peas National Scrapbook Day challenges: 

For this layout I used my February Scrapagogo kit with a few added extras, including the April tag from the April kit.

This layout documents my kitten's fear of our hoover, everytime we get it out he shoots upstairs and hides in my bed.

Might try to get somemore crafting done today but to be honest I haven't really been feeling like it.

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

~ Happy National Scrapbooking Day! ~

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

Today I have tried to spend all my time crafting but it just doesn't seem to have happened. I have spent a lot of time over at Two Peas in a Bucket looking at their NSD event, taking part in a couple of challenges and perusing their gorgeous gallery.

I have managed to create one layout though:

This layout is for NSD Challenge #4 over at Two Peas. The challenge was to continue the Morph. A few of the Design Team had used each others layouts as kind of a chain scraplift highlighting each persons interpretation of the previous scrapper. My layout is based on this one by Wendy Sue. I used Scrapagogo March 2011 kit.

The layout documents my first international trip with Girlguiding UK. I can't believe it was 10 years ago now. I went as art of a County trip to Solas Camp in Ireland.

Hopefully I might get a bit more done tonight inbetween watching The Voice.

Happy Crafting!

~ Nothing is Impossible ~

Good Morning ...

... This layout was meant to be shared last night but by the time I thought about it there wasn't enough light to get good photos. This is my second layout from Scrapagogo's April kit and after first being a little reserved at its apparent 'love' theme I have found it very versatile.

I added a few extras to the kit, just a few alpha stickers and some Tim Holtz Tissue tape. I cut the patterned paper a little to allow my photo to slide under the banner.

Over the next few weeks/months I'm sure you are going to get sick of seeing photos from this event but I have loads I want to scrap and I was very proud to have achieved my Queen's Guide Award. These are photos of my Mentor presenting me with my badge at our local presentation. I'm off to the House of Lords in June to have it presented officially.

I absolutely love what Nicola Kerridge did with this months Scrapagogo kit so I used her inspiration to create my very own 'Jar of Treats'. I always have some kind of sweets on my desk to keep me going whilst crafting so I decided it was about time to put them in their own jar. 

I will be back later today and tomorrow to share some more layouts, well hopefully if inspiration strikes!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

~ A regal birthday! ~

Well I had grand crafting plans for my weeks holiday and so far they have all been a flop! Hopefully I will have more joy over the Bank Holiday Weekend. I have managed to have a play with some Stampin' Up goodies though.

This Birthday card was made using Stampin' Up SAB free stamp set and paper pack. I used regal colour collection to stamp the images and also for the co-ordinating cardstock. I'm really enjoying being part of a Virtual Hostess Stampin' Up group, Monica gives you so many ideas.   

Happy Crafting!