Stepping out of my comfort zone

Back when Hanson announced their String Theory tour, I knew I really wanted to attend. The thought of them performing with a live symphony orchestra was just an amazing opportunity and I just couldn’t miss out on it. Hubby told me to go ahead and buy my ticket as we would sort the rest out later. Originally my hubby would be coming with me, though not to the concert, and we would stay overnight in a hotel, asking his mum to have Dylan for us. The back up plan was if she couldn’t have him, hubby would stay home, the back up plan to that was get my dad to have Dylan as he should be finished work in time for school pick up and have him until hubs had got home from work and I would need to leave the concert early to catch the train home so I could do the school run in the morning.


As time went on we had arranged for my Mother In Law to have Dylan, however closer to the time, my husband simply could not get the time off work. I was torn between staying overnight or going home, plus I had never travelled on my own before. This was going to be a pretty big deal for me.

My Hanson fan friend Maiyu and myself decided to put in for a Meet and Greet with the band, figuring it was worth a shot so we requested one back in the September, I think it was and thought nothing of it after that. On the Monday I had checked my e-mails as it was a week that day but had received nothing and I just thought to myself that it was absolutely fine. Tuesday however, hubs had asked me to e-mail something over to him. I logged into my Yahoo account and there jumped out “HANSON.net Meet & Greet winner”. I couldn’t believe my eyes, nor my absolute luck! I had gone to bed at gone 9pm and the e-mail had come in at 9.21. I was so glad I hadn’t checked my e-mails before I had gone to bed, I’d never have slept otherwise! This concert was going to be the best birthday present ever!

I had booked the Sunday off work so I could do last-minute preparations, and my MIL arrived to help out. Monday 11th Feb (2 days after my 36th birthday), I took my son to school who really didn’t want to go because he knew mummy was spending the night away from home, and I headed home to try and have a rest and get the last of my things up together.

I think I over packed.

I was so nervous! MIL dropped me off at the station and I double checked with a person on the platform that I was getting on the right train even though I had downloaded the Trainline app to make extra EXTRA sure. I sat opposite a lady, sharing a table. I tried to get my article done for the magazine done on the train but for some reason my keyboard wouldn’t sync to my tablet so I decided to forget it and just watched out the window. Luckily the lady I was sat with was getting off at the same station as I was so she let me know when to start gathering my things together ready to get off.

The station was so big. I had a little panic when I arrived there as there were so many platforms and I wondered if I was going to make it home the next day! But I stepped outside, dropped hubby a text and saw the Bullring opposite and had an hour until I could check in to my hotel. I started walking around and looking at shops, and I got the hotel up on Google Maps and just started walking in that direction popping into shops to have a look (I did make one purchase – a “Little Baby Bot” bath bomb from Lush for Dylan as a treat) and I was super excited to go into a Muji shop. Next thing I knew, I was looking at Symphony Hall and my hotel was a mere 6 minute walk away. I had been videoing along the way as well, planning on making a vlog type video to remember the day.

I arrived to the hotel early, but one of the ladies on the Whatsapp Chat that we started for other Meet & Greet winners had managed to get into hers early so I thought I would give a go. It was a bit strange turning up to the hotel and there were just kiosks to check in lol.

My Hotel Room

I had a mix of emotions, I was excited to be seeing Hanson and sad to have left hubby and Dylan behind. I headed out to Sainsburys across the road to grab something for breakfast the next day (I wasn’t spending £5.25 on the hotel’s small breakfast) and as I had to be at the venue to meet up with the M&G ladies by 5pm so I grabbed a meal deal for my tea- I hadn’t really had a proper lunch, and at this point my stomach was doing flips.

Dylan was home from school and hubby had finished work so I did a video chat with my little monkey who after being upset that morning that I was leaving, was watching telly and couldn’t give two hoots that mummy was calling. I had a regular call with hubs, and then I had to hurry up and start getting ready – my wish for a nap was clearly not happening!

Once at the venue, I started saying hello to the ladies I had been chatting to on Whatsapp for the last week and we began picking up our VIP passes. At this point, I was surprisingly calm. The nerves had vanished and I was having a great time.

The guy who was handing out the passes was hilarious and kept us all entertained and we all chatted for a while. The ladies in our M&G were all so great! The merch kiosk started setting up when we were there and I grabbed a t-shirt and a pin for my collection. I adore this pin! I have worn it to work and have popped it on my hoodie a LOT.

We had to wait a lot, it was about 6.15 when we headed off towards the side room that we were meeting the band in, and as I was in group A we went in first, it was gone 6.30 I believe. I was the last in the group to go into the room and put my bag down and go say hi. The rest is mostly a blur LOL. I remember I shook their hands, Isaac signed my book first so he asked my name and I spelled it for him, I then went to Zac for his autograph, and then Taylor who could just about squeeze it in LOL. I was then stood listening to a conversation with Zac and Lizzie and Sarah. I hardly said anything to be honest. Looking back there are a couple of things I wish I could have said:
– Talk with Zac about when Dylan was born because his son Abe was born days after him.
– Talk with Zac about the switch. Because he loves it and I think it’s awesome too.
– Mentioned to Isaac about the time I bumped into him back in 2011 when he was on his way back from the pub.
– Said how I got to see them in 2010 on my honeymoon when they played Eat To The Beat, and left my husband in the UK pavilion with a cider in each hand so I could see them.

Taylor then mentioned that we had to take our picture and I felt his hand on my shoulder to get in for the shot for a brief moment. Looking at the picture I kind of look a bit odd standing on my own out the front while everyone else is in a line LOL, but I was pretty unaware what was happening behind me. I was sure my picture was going to be a bit funny anyway as I could feel my cheek full on twitching so I was dreading seeing it but it wasn’t that bad after all lol.

In the end, we were told our time was up, and I was on auto pilot thinking that there were others who still had to have their turn and I just turned and headed straight for my bag, but I did say to the guys that we were having an absolute blast outside the room as we were all leaving.

I stood in the entrance afterwards and caught up with a bunch of my Hanson friends, including Maiyu. It was great to meet some old friends, some friends who I hadn’t met before but I had known via the fanclub/street team and some new friends too. They called that doors were open to take their seats but no one rushed to go, most people stayed in the bar area (I had taken a bottle of water with me and a small pocket squash) and slowly went and took their seat. There was one lady who I heard had taken her seat already so I went in, but she was on a balcony but we did wave hello.

The show itself was an amazing experience. I was relieved it wasn’t a standing show so it wasn’t as crazy to queue and was so laid back. Everyone was just sat and listened to the music – it wasn’t like any other show I had been to, it was great. As the orchestra started playing the opening to Reaching For The Sky, I got emotional. I was so glad I went and got to experience it. As the show went on, some fans would shout out to the band that they love them between the songs, towards the end everyone was clapping along then got up to dance, before during the last couple of songs a bunch of people went up towards the stage to dance. I, however, stayed at my seat and watched everyone debating on whether to stay where I was or go and join some of the others and get up closer for some better photos than my phone could manage.

After the show, I called hubby who insisted I get an Uber or taxi but the area outside the venue was pedestrianised and just after that where the road actually was, it was closed due to roadworks. I had to walk halfway to the hotel to have got a taxi… and quite frankly there were a lot of other fans around anyway so I was fine. I was so tired that I walked right past the gates where fans had started gathering to wait for the band, while still talking to hubs who insisted he stayed on the phone until I got to my room then.

I got dressed for bed and jumped straight in, saying goodnight to hubs. I awoke at 2am (habit from being woken in the night) but I woke up properly at 7.30 and started watching some telly, opting for a quiet and calm morning with no rush to get anywhere, minus the fact I had to be home in time for parents evening appointment. But the adrenaline had worn off, and the anxiety of getting home had kicked in.

I had been debating about going to the free museum but instead opted to head straight to the station. I had Dylan’s present so I didn’t really need to go and nose through the shops, and I checked the train times and there was one at 10.30 but I would be better off getting an Uber for that, so that’s what I did 🙂

I followed the signs for the platform shown on the app and felt pretty confident, especially when a few other people came on to the platform and asked another person if it was the right train and it was. I sat and ate another one of the blueberry muffins I had bought for breakfast on the train. It was a bit difficult carrying the 4 pack of those as well as my bags, so I knew I definitely over packed but for my first trip I just wanted to be prepared, but I will know for another time. And there will definitely be another time ^_^ The whole experience has made me more confident to do something like that again for sure. Everyone I met was so nice and friendly – even outside of the Hanson Fan community. People on the train etc were so nice and made me feel calm and safe the whole time. The Uber driver was so pleased to hear that I had such a great experience too.

[My video vlog to come soon]

Mojo is back!

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I am back to Zumba classes 🙂 So fab to be with such lovely ladies, and they were all talking about a video which Reg gave us a demonstration of (minus the Zumba men!) So glad to be back.

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I’ve also been on Illustrator which just does not want to co-operate on my laptop. I managed to export 2 of my vector images but for the last 2 it claimed I did not have enough memory to complete the operation. Thank heavens for smart layers! I copied and pasted the vectors into photoshop.

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8 papers made for a new “Shout It Out” kit I’ve been toying with for Hanson Crafts. Hopefully will lead on to phone wallpapers, 10×8 print to go with the subway art I made… My vectors are far from perfect though, but I made them so they’re good enough for me ^_^

Smashing!

So a couple of my online twitter/instagram/facebook friends have quite a lot to answer for 😉 Katy started a group on facebook for Smashers which she invited me to, but I didn’t smash… Well I do now after seeing everything has been up to!

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I ordered some smash supplies, and then I came up with an idea as I was stroking my new supplies! I went to Paperarts and got some cardstock that matched my kit that I designed.

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I still hadn’t done a minibook for the concert back in November!

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So I finished the mini book (pictures to come when I have better light in which to take photos!)

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And I designed a Hanson Smash book, and fully assembled it!

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I smashed a couple of pages…

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Which I also figured to go with a smash book and to make a mini book, people need some journalling blocks! So I designed some of those too! I hope to get pictures, downloads and tutorials to follow on the Hanson Crafts site shortly I hope 🙂

Little bit of silver paint

So a lot of my hoodies are either (1) falling apart or (2) too small. I love my Hanson hoodies with a passion though my Walk one is a little too small for me right now *sniff* (well it IS an extra small after all!), so I decided instead of the top that I wanted to decorate, I was going to do something a little different. So a trip to Matalan and a black hoodie later, I got home to cut the Hanson symbol inside a hidden Mickey (my two loves: Disney and Hanson!) and I just hoped that it would work! I ironed the freezer paper on, painted on the metallic silver paint, let it dry learning a lot as I peeled the paper away once it had done… and it’s not perfect but I am super happy at my new hoodie! The DIY will be up at Hanson Crafts this weekend I hope 🙂 it’s so nice and soft to wear, I can quite happily snuggle down in it! It’s a nice little comfort while at work.

hoodie
hoodie

Kelly Purkey’s post was something that was quite refreshing to read. I appreciate those kind of posts, especially when I see her photos and swoon over them and think how lucky she is.

And whose life doesn’t look lush and gorgeous when you add a little Valencia filter on Instagram

I’m slowly settling now, things being all over the place isn’t really freaking me out now. In fact, I managed to fit in a Zumba session (a 45 minute one on medium intensity… what was I thinking!?) I weighed in on Monday. A pound gained in two weeks, could have been worse but I still have 10 lb to lose.

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But I felt good for it. Such relief for things to start feeling “normal” 🙂 And look at our green beans and our tomatoes!

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Trying to come out of hibernation though 🙂 but on Tuesday the weather girl said “Don’t be fooled, it is spring not winter!” come on spring I know you’re here hiding somewhere. But in the meantime, snuggling on the sofa for big bang theory and then how I met your mother… Thursdays are my new favourite!

Hanson Crafts Site

After the announcement that Hanson.net were stopping their web space, I quickly uploaded what I did have of my site up to my domain and now it is pretty much complete. I have a fab idea that I hope to do this weekend as a craft (it’s actually part Hanson, part Disney after the concerts at Epcot and I saw another fan with a particular hoodie, I decided I had to have a top with the same thing on it!) So please come and peruse my

HANSON CRAFTS SITE

(PS. we also have a Facebook group!)

Having a play…

Coming Soon

I’ve not played around making a digital kit in many years. Now this kit in particular is aimed towards my special crafts site as a freebie, but I have been toying with the idea of removing those theme specific items and releasing it as a mini kit for here. But I still have a lot of work left to do on it, believe me! But it’s actually really fun to be doing something with design. I could never do it and make a business of it though, I couldn’t do numerous kits a month LOL! Though I have been making templates, and overlays so hopefully there will be more freebies in the future 😉

Concert

I was lucky enough to get to see Hanson in Birmingham last night. I had an absolutely FANTASTIC time!

Firstly a big Thank You to Chrissy & her bf’s dad for the lift to Birmingham and home again. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have made it there in the first place. I also met a local girl called Kerry, which was great news as I didn’t know there were any fans nearby. She lives the next town over from me 🙂 So there was the 3 of us fans in the car having a gossip all the way up!

They both had Meet & Greets (Which I luckily enough had back in April 2007) so they continued on to the pub while I met up with my friend who had a M&G with me 4 years ago, so it was good to catch up with her and I’m so thankful I have such a cool Hanson friend who I shared that experience with and we’ve become friends because of it.

Maiyu was 25th in the queue and I was number 28 so we hung out and luckily, look who we bumped into…

Isaac & Kirsty

I look awful, and very cold lol, but I was so grateful to Isaac for stopping & taking this picture. It was Gareth’s camera and I hadn’t actually got to play with it, so I pointed out to Gareth that a Hanson had used his camera and he told me we had to wash it *roll eyes*  Although my M&G was one of the BEST days of my life, I often think back over it and cringe as I often act up when I’m nervous and I made a complete tit of myself. So I felt I at least redeemed myself last night by seeing Isaac again.

I had the best time dancing and singing next Maiyu! And luckily after some playing with Gareth’s camera, I got the hang of it 😉

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Isaac

Taylor

Zac

2010 Christmas Prep

2010 Ornament

Now, normally I make the Christmas ornaments but this year I decided on a special ornament instead. The requirement was that it HAD to have the year on it. So whilst on our honeymoon in Disney, we picked up this cute ornament!

I have been a busy bee making Christmas presents, so photos to follow on that, but the whole point of this post is something I read, firstly on Craftster, yesterday. Then again today on the Silhouette blog lol.

Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read

How cute is that idea? Sometimes people can get a bit carried away (I must admit, I’m generally one of those people!) and the idea of 4 presents under those categories is something I’d like to try… Of course I’m sure my wonderful husband might have something to say on that matter! He’s just like a big kid!  There’s also something about HANDMADE gifts that I adore as well. Knowing that someone took the time & effort to make it, just fills me with warm fuzzies 🙂 Something as simple as a bottle of bubble bath, or some handmade chocolates. Sadly not everyone GETS that. My family do, they don’t even expect a present & sometimes that whole appreciation & the concept are completely lost on some people. For my parents I made them a simple ornament, (well it was a clear premade ornament) and I had a photo of Oliver (My nephew) & on the other side with the help of some digital scrabooking kits, I had “OLIVER’S FIRST CHRISTMAS 2009” on the back. They adored it, and it has pride of place on their tree this year too.

I’m not religious in the slightest, and some might argue “Why do you celebrate Christmas then?” For me, it’s about being with family. Spending time together doing things like playing board games and such that you wouldn’t normally do, and fully appreciating each other. That’s what it’s about.

Hanson Streaming

Saturday night… What a HOOT! I got into my clean jammies, into bed with my clean sheets just before 10pm, chatting with my Hanson friends ready for a Live streaming on the Hanson website. We were all so excited (Hanson became a trending topic world wide on Twitter!)  I was thankful Gareth had the new Expansion on World of Warcraft to play on, as though it was supposed to start at 10pm we were on Hanson time after all! Just before 11pm GMT the guys came on and me and all my friends were messaging each other and in complete hysterics. They played songs from Snowed In, they baked cookies, opened presents… and just generally had a laugh. I’m not getting a Christmas party this year, so for me that more than made up for it, and best of all I got to spend it in my PJs nice and cosy at home, with some of the best people you could be with, and with my favourite band in the world, singing along with them & having such a laugh my stomach hurt the next day 🙂 you just can’t beat it! It all finished about 1am which was just LUSH. Though I was thoroughly tired Sunday, but oh so worth it 😉

Right Now {via Ali Edwards}

“Borrowed” from Ali’s blog,

TODAY
June 23rd, 2009

Outside my window… My neighbour has actually put her bin out – first time since she’s moved in, I believe!!

I am thinking… about Buster still, and that my eyes are still itching and hoping the hayfever symptoms go away

I am thankful forfamily. Been going over every day, and I just need that. To be with mum, dad and Stewart, and Oliver of course!

From the kitchen… mini pepperoni pizza with chips.

I am wearing… black t-shirt (too hot), jeans and barefoot.

I am creating… Right now, nothing but I’m looking forward to doing some more scrapbooking soon, and I have to finish my travel binder sharpish!

I am going… to take a shower and wash my hair in a bit. Fancy another early night, so want to be in bed by 9.30pm.

I am reading… The unofficial guide to Twilight.

I am hoping… that the weekend isn’t a huge washout, and that the “light rain” won’t come to anything.

I am hearing… Hanson’s membership CD.  “Devil’s Nachos” seriously rocks, lol.

Around the house… Dishes piled up in the sink, messy floor in the lounge, and clothes to put away in the bedroom.

One of my favorite things… photos. They’re such a comfort right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week… carry on to my parents for the rest of the week again, and tidy up around here.

My dad liked his frame as well. My dad never cries and when he took it out of the bag he burst into tears, then I started and so did my mum.

Writing bug

I remember when I was 14, I sat down and I wrote a 400 page story, which (if I do say so myself) I quite enjoyed, but I’m biased 😉 and that story will never see the light of day because it was pretty much Hanson Fanfic.  My current story is a bit of an odd thing for me to talk about really, but it’s a story I want to tell. I recall it all fondly to anyone who will listen.

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Now it’s about an old crush of mine from back in the day, a guy I consider one of my best friends still to this day although we don’t get to chat half as much anymore because life has pretty much got in the way.  Looking at it, it may be a little weird to be writing it, but a thing I really want to do this year is to hold a book that I have written in my hands in its published form 🙂 And what better thing to write about than personal experience. I will post draft chapters as and when, and hope that anyone who reads it enjoys it.

Speaking of crushes, the hottest guy in the world cooked us a yummy dinner tonight 🙂  Here he is playing WoW:

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and the face he usually pulls when he knows I have the camera in hand:

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and the cutest texts lol  “baby looney pants” 😀

text :)