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throughout this site i hope you find some inspiration, every single person has a dream they wish they could achieve, what's your wish?

through the use of this site i aim to tick every item off my list and raise £500,000 for Make-A-Wish foundation uk. I hope you can be part of that too.

please feel free to browse the site, make a donation via the 'just giving' link if you can, and do not hesitate to contact me at you can also send stories and pictures that maybe published here if you like.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

happy new year and welcome 2012

so here it is another new year!

for many of us the next week will comprise of making a resolution which we vow to keep only to break within the next week, not me not this year you see i'm not giving anything up! it's pointless i know i will not stick to it, simply because if i haven't committed to it before january 1st what are the odds i'm going to commit to it after?
however i would like to get very excited about some developments for 2012 that are on the horizon and i see no reason why they won't happen you see i have already committed to them happening!
I don't want to give too much away however paris, we have our routes and bicycles so watch out we're coming to get you!
and i have a graphics tablet on reserve and some storyboards already drawn so 'create a comic book' is also one to look out for, as well as learn Spanish, learn piano, learn guitar, learn ukulele. (i'm only at a beginers stage with them but i am slowly progressing so it's progress never the less.

so with all the excitements of 2012 looming i would like to reflect the last year, personally i have grown not just as a musician, but also as a person, i have learnt to let go of unimportant things, learnt to be more in the moment and most importantly i have learnt not to give up!

this year saw me accomplish more list items as well as start a merchandise shop! this year i started training for our paris cycle, made balloon animals, started learning guitar,piano,ukulele, spanish and how to juggle. i carved jack-o-lanterns, taught a group of kids, interviewed children, played drums in-front of 8,000 people (possibly the highlight of my year) and survived nearly a full semester at university so in reflection this has been a great year! i am truly thankful for it, 2012 will be a much better one i can just feel it plus i know it will be as last summer i made 1000 origami cranes and they are a symbol of peace and prosperity so it defiantly going to be good.

just a few words of inspiration for 2012

if opportunity doesn't knock build a door

men do less than they ought unless they do all that they can

determined what shall and can be done and we shall find the way

you miss 100% of the shots you don't take

live each day as if it had just begun

every nobel work is at first impossible

storms make oaks take roots

the only way of finding the limits of the possible is to go beyond them and make them impossible

if you don not hope you will not find what is beyond your hopes

fortune favours the brave

he who dares wins

man's best successes come after disappointments

Monday, 12 December 2011

well as some of you will know the very reason my bucket list came into existence was after a careers advisor told me drumming or a career in music was a stupid idea ' yep she really said stupid' and since then i have added to change and even completed parts of my list.

so i thought during this time of good will and merry bliss i would update you.
i am now studying at university music of course,
and have had the great fortune of playing with many talented musicians, recently i even had the pleasure of performing at birmingham's Nation indoor Arena in front of 8,000 on two consecutive nights and i can tell you that was a far from stupid career choice.

however this journey and list has proved more than just me accomplishing some goals and having some fun, it has shown me that you need to dream now matter how stupid, small, big or insignificant they seem to others we all have dreams that we wish to accomplish. and when we try and put our dreams into motion even if they don't turn out exactly how we planned they can change our lives. not just how we live but our abilities and willingness to live.

throughout this adventure of self discovery you awesome guys and gals have also been helping to raise some money for make a wish foundation so a big christmas thanks to you too, the children whose lives you have transformed with your generous donations have all dared to dream, so what is stopping you don't let circumstance stop you open my post how to create a bucket list and start yours today instead of giving something up for new years why not start a life transforming journey of self discovery instead?
and of course don't forget to to donate via the link to the left of this page to help sick children's dreams come true!!!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

#167 carve a jack o'lantern - COMPLETE

so here it is folks!
i've finally done it carved a jack o'lantern worthy of sitting on the front step. (well worthy enough)

i do appologise for the clarity of the pictures, they look much better in the dark, but my camera isn't capable of taking better shots than this after many attempts this was the best picture i could get.
but i hope you agree with me that they turned out rather well. in case you can't see it's Ghost Busters (my guilty pleasure) and Frankenstein. 

to make your own you need:

  • a large pumpkin
  • a Stanley knife or carving tools
  • a large food bowl
  • a large/ medium container
  • a scoop or sturdy spoon
  • a punch or pen to make a start hole for caving 
  • paper
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • tea light
what to do:
1. first take a piece of paper and a pencil and draw a stencil of your character onto it (you can find pictures and even stencils on line) 

2. cut the pieces that the light will shine through out using the scissors if there is a bit that needs scoring or not cut all the way through then use a different colour pen to indicate this for when you are carving

3. next cut a circle into the top of your pumpkin. this will be your lid so put it to one side but do not discard it. you may want to put some newspaper down and have hand wipes ready as the next bit is messy. 

4. next take a scoop and remove ALL of the flesh from the insides it is messy you have been warned, separate the pips and the flesh into the two different bowls and containers. (keep both the flesh and the pips as they can be used later to make some tasty treats.

5. once your pumpkin is completely gutted give a wipe with a paper towel then lay your stencil on one side and draw through the hole you created remember to draw on the bits that need to be scored in too. if you want to carve free hand with no stencil or drawing that's fine.

6. next use your punch to make a small hole along where you are going to cut. (the punch makes it easier to get carving tools into the pumpkin) 

7. cut all of your shapes out. be careful  with any sharp tools you are using. cut into the pumpkin but not all the way through for scoring. (you will score any bits that you want light to shine through but not completely cut out. and also bits that if you do cut all the way through parts of the pumpkin would fall off,)

8. once you have completed carving give the pumpkin a wipe to get rid of excess flesh then light a tea candle and place inside the pumpkin and place the lid back on top.

remember those pumpkin flesh and pumpkin seeds i told you to keep well why not check out pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup pages for recipes on using your flesh. the lightly bake the seeds in an oven for a healthy snack  or add to the top of your soup and pie. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

toffee/ caramel-ed apples

apple bobbing and toffee apples are great seasonal treats for any halloween party and are great for bon fire night too (uk mainly)

so give this easy recipe a go

you will need:

  • 12 ripe/crisp apples
  • 40ml of dark corn syrup
  • 35g granulated sugar
  • 35g light brown sugar 
  • 35g heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s)salt 
  • 3 tablespoon(s) butter 
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

how to make:

Line a baking pan with a generously oiled sheet of parchment paper. Push a candy apple stick into the core of each apple.

Combine the syrup, sugars, heavy cream, and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until the mixture reaches 270 degrees F – about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and vanilla. Let cool for 6 to 8 minutes, until caramel thickens to a toffeelike consistency.

Dip and gently swirl the apples into the caramel and place on the prepared baking sheet. you can add sweets, melted chocolate and other toppings you wish at this stage Let cool completely.


sweet popcorn balls

want a sweet but more traditional treat for trick or treaters or party goers this halloween why not try making some sweet popcorn balls.

to make this sweet snack you will need: 

  • large bowl of popped pop corn 

  • 50-70g of dried fruit (figs, cherries, raisins, apricots)

  • 40g granulated sugar 

  • 25 g brown sugar

  • 28g corn syrup

  • 150ml of water 

  • Directions
    1.  Toss popcorn and dried fruit together in a large, lightly oiled, heatproof bowl. Oil 2 waxed paper-lined baking  pans and a long metal fork. Set aside.

    2. Bring sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. 

    3. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees F.
    4. Carefully pour the syrup over the popcorn mixture. Stir with the fork to distribute. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

    5. With well-oiled hands, form 3-inch balls, place on pans, and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

    spider web cupcakes

    to make spider web cupcakes you will need:
    • super moist german chocolate cake mix prepared
    • 100ml of dark maple syrup
    • 150ml pumpkin pie filling
    • 1 tub or packet of chocolate frosting
    • handfull of white chocolate chips 

  • To Make the Cupcakes: Place paper liners in a muffin pan, then fill each liner two-thirds full with prepared cake mix.Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, then set aside until cool. Repeat process until you've baked 24 cupcakes.

  • Transfer frosting into a bowl, microwave for 10 seconds, and stir; repeat until thin enough to pour. Dip cupcake upside down into frosting, submerging the top but not touching liner to frosting. Let excess drip off before turning upright. Continue until all cupcakes are glazed.

  • To Make the Cake Topper: Microwave white-chocolate chips in a bowl for 30 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave in 20-second intervals until almost melted. Stir again until chocolate is completely melted. Pour inside a freezer bag with one tip snipped off to create a piping sleeve.

  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slide spiderweb templates  underneath paper. To make each web, use piping sleeve to trace white chocolate along design, making sure to connect all lines. Repeat process until you've created 24 toppers. Chill them in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Then, using a spatula, remove webs carefully from parchment and position one on each cupcake.

  • Thursday, 27 October 2011

    pumpkin pie

    pumpkin pie


    • 425g chopped pumpkin flesh
    • 1 packet ready rolled shortcrust pastry
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 pinch of nutmeg
    • 1 pinch of allspice
    • 95g dark brown sugar
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 medium egg
    • 30ml cream

    Preparation method

    Prep: 30 minsCook: 1 hour | Extra time: 8 hours, setting
    Pre-heat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
    Steam chopped pumpkin for approximately 30 minutes and leave to cool slightly.
    Place ready rolled pastry in a pie dish, cover with a disk shape of baking parchment and cover with dried beans or lentils; blind bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Take out and leave to cool.
    Blend or mash the steamed pumpkin into a purée.
    Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and dark brown sugar to the pumpkin mixture and stir.
    Whisk the egg and egg yolk in a bowl and add to the mixture along with the cream.
    Fill the pastry case in the pie dish with the pumpkin mixture. Lower the oven to 160 C / Gas 3 and bake the pie for 35 minutes.
    When cooked leave pumpkin mixture to set. And when cool put in fridge overnight to continue to set.

    Wednesday, 26 October 2011

    pumpkin mousse

    pumpkin mousse

    to make this delicious pumpkin mousse you will need:

  • 5 large Egg Yolks

  • 1 cup(s) Sugar

  • 3 1/2 cup(s) Heavy Cream

  • 15 ounce(s) Canned Pumpkin

  • 2 teaspoon(s) Vanilla Extract

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Ground Cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) Ground Ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) Ground Nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) Salt

  • 2 tablespoon(s) Dark Rum

  • 1 teaspoon(s) Powdered Gelatin

  • 3 ounce(s) Shaved Dark Chocolate

  • Instructions:

    1. first take a large bowl fill it half way with ice and set aside.

    2.Whisk the yolks, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and 3/4 cup cream together in a medium saucepan. Heat while stirring continuously with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon over medium-low heat, until thickened and the mixture coats the spatula -- about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set over the ice bath . Stir to cool.

    3. Add pumpkin, vanilla, spices , and salt to the egg mixture. Stir 1 tablespoon rum and 1 teaspoon gelatin together in a small bowl. Heat the remaining tablespoon rum, and stir in to the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Gently whisk into the pumpkin mixture. Beat 1/2 cup cream to stiff peaks, and fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour into a shallow dish, cover and chill until cold and thick enough to fall from a spoon in heavy dollops -- about 8 hours or up to overnight.

    4. Beat the remaining cream and sugar to stiff peaks. Alternately layer the pumpkin mousse and whipped cream in a glass serving dish. Sprinkle the chocolate shavings between top two layers. Serve chilled.


    ghoulish ice-scream float

    so it's less than a week to Halloween and you are probably starting to get some ideas for your Halloween party.
    have you thought about drinks.
    here is a great idea for a drink that looks great for kids parties and tastes even better.

    what you need:

    • ice cream of your choice ( vanilla and mint work best for ghoul icescream) 
    • fizzy drinks (lemonade is better but you can use anything including coca-cola)
    • food colouring (blood red, ghostly green, black,yellow anything you like)
    • scary sweet/candy (jelly snakes and spiders work well or even white chocolate mice) 
    • ...or add fruit for the healthy option. 
    first take a large sundae glass or a tall glass if you don't have either ask an adult if they have a pint glass you could borrow.
    fill it about two thirds with your chosen ice cream flavor you could even mix more than one ice cream flavor together to see what different effects you get.

    next add your fizzy drink and fill just under the top of the glass. 
    it should froth up nicely to create a creepy ghostly foam.

    you can add different food colouring to create different effects and colours.

     you can add halloween sweets/candy to your creation to make it extra scary or add fruit for the healthy option.

    add mint ice cream and green food colouring to get a ghoulish green ice scream float

    Saturday, 22 October 2011

    creepy Halloween paper spider

    you will need; 
    • black construction card
    • scissors
    • crazy eyes (from a craft store)
    • glue
    • coloured pens or crayons (optional)

    1. Cut two circle/oval shapes from your black construction card one must be bigger than the other this will form the body and the head of your spider.

    2. to create the legs cut 4 long strips of card they need to be at least 4 times the length of the spiders oval body you could if you wanted more sturdiness opt for black pipe cleaners instead. 

    3. glue the round head onto the oval body. only overlap them slightly but enough to give a firm hold. 

     4. glue the legs onto the body be careful to line the legs up exactly in the middle you may wish to measure the length of the legs so that it is even. use a pva glue if you are using pipe cleaners dutch tape also works. 

    5.flip the spider over so that the legs are now underneath then bend each leg in the middle to create it's joints.

    6. crease a hinge between the legs and the body so that the spider can stand. 

    7.  the spider should be able to stand fiddle with it a bit so that it can you may need to trim individual legs that are a little too long.

    8. finally add some eyes to your spider. spiders have more than two eyes did you know some species have up to 8. but you can add as may as you want. if don't have eyes to stick on try drawing some on with crayons or a correction fluid pen ask for an adults help when using correction fluid. 

    Halloween shadow puppets

    remember if you cannot be trusted with scissors or are under 8 years of age please get a responsible adult to help you!

    you will need;
    •  construction paper
    • black poster paint 
    • paint brush 
    • scissors
    • glue
    • transparent or white drinking straws
    • scotch tape
    • hole punch 
    • craft knife
    • white fabric or thin sheet of paper
    • string
    • lamp
    • optional cellophane

    1.first start with some templates which you can draw or find our print out sheets.
    think about how you want your characters to look, remember it's your story so be as creative as you like. find books or use images on the internet to be your source of inspiration. 

    2. next cut each individual character out.

    3. hole punch any features you wish to emphasize  these would be facial features such as eyes, nose and mouth. or letter on superheroes or stars or patterns.

    4. next use the black poster paint to paint each of your characters, this will turn them into silhouettes. Take extra care not to paint over furniture remember to lay down old newspaper or scrap paper before you start to paint. and wash your hands before you touch anything else. you may also wish to put an apron or old painting shirt before you start too.  most poster paint is water soluble meaning it will wash out but check on your paint bottle first as some vary. 

    5. let your painted characters dry 

    6. if you wish to give your characters eyes colour for an extra spooky effect then add some colored cellophane over the back of the character where their eyes are located. to add pupils either paint a blob on the front of the cellophane or cut small circles of paper using the hole punch and paint then black (let the paint dry before you touch it and be careful when gluing.) 

    7. using the scotch tape attach your clear or white drinking straw to the back of your characters.
    this is how you will move your silhouettes. 
    if you need a longer handle then attach two straws end to end using some tape. 

     8. to make a screen use some thin white fabric or a sheet of thin white paper or maybe tracing paper if you have any. cut is to the desired size.

    9. if you want to add some back ground to your story try cutting some shapes such as a moon or trees and hedges and attaching them to one side of your screen.

    10. tape the shapes you have cut to the front of the screen

    11. this a view from the audience prospective meaning this is the side of the screen the audience will see. 

        this is the side of the screen the puppeteer (you)  will see. 

    the finished product