Bird Photography

What are birds, animal? Whatever, they are lovely creatures and I love photographing them.

Over the years I have taken many photos of them, some good, some not so good (the majority) and some OK. What you got to remember is that they are wild animals, and definitely not easy to approach without scaring them, so not the best subject to photograph.

Below I share with you some of the better bird photos I have taken.

Please feel free to leave a comment, whatever are you  thoughts.


How to make of video out of your photos.

Many of you will have a multitude of photos forgotten on your hard drive?

I am not different, like the  rest of you I do have hundred and hundred of photos doing nothing on my PC. Until now that is.  At last I have discovered a way to share some of my “doggy photos” (Photography and Dog Training being my two favourite hobbies) with everyone.


I have discovered a software program called Animoto. It’s a very simple program to use which creates extraordinary videos with your photos,  music included, and it FREE if you use their lite plan, i.e. 30 seconds video.

Below are a few videos I have produced with this software.  Check them out and have a go with your own photos.  It is fun.

These videos appeared on my Facebook page as well as on YouTube, yours could do….  Enjoy

The next two videos are about my dogs Amos and Zaki – they are Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, also known as Tollers.

The next two videos are my friends’ dogs Maisie the Pointer and Indie the Flatcoat Retriever.

I am opened to constructive criticism so please do not hesitate to leave your comments.


“The Marks of Cain” Book Review

The Marks of Cain

If you are a fan of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” , “The Marks of Cain” by Tom Knox is a must.

I started reading this yesterday and could not put it down until the early hours of the morning. The story is full of mystery, plots and twists and it’s not until the last pages that all is revealed.

This thriller is set in modern times and is about a young person (one of the main characters) inheriting a fortune from his grandfather who was supposedly poor, a biblical curse, a French tribe of hidden pariahs repressed for a thousand years, Second World War terrible revelation and people being killed.

What do they all have in common? What is the darkest of secrets someone will stop at nothing to prevent being revealed?

This is a fast action story set in England, France and Namibia. It is well written with a “cliff hanger” at the end of each chapter making you want to read more. However, I must say, it is extremely violent at times and this may well upset some of you, like it did me.

All said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and now I am looking forward to read another one of Tom Knox’s novels.

My score out of 10 – 9/10 (the violence did upset me).


New book from Philippa Gregory

History – at school you either love it or hate it.  In my case I have always loved history and it was one of my favourite subjects.  Now what’s has this to do with Philippa Gregory?

For those of you who don’t know, she is a best selling author of historical novels. She has written several novels about Henry VIII’s wives and other ladies in the the Tudor court. Her stories are easy to read and based on historical facts.  So is there a better way to enjoy a book and still learn about English History?  “The Tudor Court Novels” are very popular and one of them “The Other Boleyn Girl” was made into a film.

I have also enjoyed  ”The Cousin’s War” Series set up after the War of the Roses.  Once again using the women as the main character you will read about all the plots and intrigues of that time, how the York won the war against the Lancaster to take the kingdom, and also how the Tudors become kings.  A very easy way to understand history.

She has written other books, of course, just as interesting. However there is a new series now called “The Order of Darkness” just out and today I have received book one  ”The Changeling”. The story is set up in Italy in 1453 during the dangerous time of the medieval world where Christendom was fighting dark magic, werewolves etc.  I can’t wait to start reading this.

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What Are The Steps to Develop Your Passion?

On the previous post I talked about discovering your passion.  Now, what steps can you take? what are your objectives?

What ever your objectives, if you want to have success, they must be well defined.  You must know exactly what you want to achieve or what to expect.  These must be S M A R T E R:

-  S for Specific: Ask yourself what it is you want to achieve?  What is your purpose?  What does it involve or maybe who does it involve? Where can they take place? What do you need, or what are the limitations?

-  M for Measurable, Manageable: How much time, money will these take you? How many hours, days, months, man power are involved? How will you know when these have been achieved?

-  A for Attainable: You need to set an appropriate and achievable goal, one that you can accomplish.

-  R for Relevant: Your objectives must be realistic and it must be something you believe is achievable, where you can see some progress.

-  T for Timed: Once you have set up your objectives you must have a completion date, a time frame to work to.

-  E for Evaluate: Your objectives must be enjoyable and ethical.  You must appraise the work in progress.

-  R for Re-evaluate: Once you have reached your time frame you must re-evaluate your objectives.  Are you happy with the results? Do these need to be revised?

So what are my own objectives to develop my own passion i.e. Dog Photography?

  • Create a website to share my photographs, as pictures are worth a 1000 words.
  • Register with Flickr and join the appropriate group
  • Join some photographic/dog forums and develop a relationship with the main contributors
  • Research for outdoor locations which could be used for the shoots
  • Further develop my Photoshop skills and produce some creative photographs
  • Research the local competition and learn from it

These are some of my own specific goals which, I think, are measureable, attainable, relevant to my passion.  I give myself a time frame of 3 months, by which time I will be able to re-evaluate these objectives.

Good luck with your own objectives.

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I am in the Masterclass Blog Carnival, click on the banner to see the other entries


What is your Favourite Hobby?

You only have to look on the newsagents’ shelves to see the multitude of magazines being produced to support our hobbies, i.e. Golf, Horse Riding, Gun Dog Sports, Dogs, Cats etc. What is your favourite hobby? something you are passionate about?

What is mine, in fact I have two hobbies I am equally passionate about:

1 – Photography – Why photography? for me is a way to record that precious moment in time, the one which is unlikely to be repeated ; to see something and to translate that vision into something worth keeping. Having the right gear helps but at the end of the day even if the photograph is well composed and sharp, it still needs that little “je ne sais quoi” to make it that special. Like a painting it could just be the special lighting, the subject or the mood, whatever it is, it must transfer some feelings.

2 – Dogs – I have owned dogs for many years and to me they are the perfect pets – loyal, ready to put their live on the line for you, always pleased to see you whatever your mood.

So how can I combine my two hobbies together? Well taking photographs of dogs is one way, taking the dogs on a long walk in the countryside and making sure I take the camera with me is another way. 

I even have got a step further, I start a small business as a dog photographer called

So if you have a passion for something, enjoyed it and who knows you might turn your passion into a worthwhile business.

Zaki - Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Zaki - Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Badger - Brown and White Border Collie

Badger - Brown and White Border Collie


What do you get when you mix “The Muppets” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”?

I came across this video on You Tube and what a pleasure it was to watch it. Why? in the seventies/eighties I was old enough to appreciate the “Muppets Show”, furthermore one of my favourite group was “Queen”, so when you mix them together! Voila! as video below. Of course you might already you have seen it (19,000,000 plus views already) but if you have not – enjoy and smile.

On the other hand you might dislike it but in my view it’s brilliant.


Rocamadour – French “Must See” Village

Rocamadour villageDo you plan a holiday in France? then Rocamadour in the Lot (South West France) should be on your “must see” itinerary.

This quaint village, set up in a truly breathtaking location, majestically rising up the side of the cliff is France second most visited site, the first one being Le Mont St Michel in Normandy (blog post subject for the future).

Although the history of the village dates back to prehistoric times, it is as a medieval pilgrimage destination that Rocamadour is best known, with the first church here being constructed in the middle of the 12th century. According to historical records, in 1166 an in-corrupt body was discovered buried in a cave next to the chapel.  The identity of the body was unknown but it was assumed that this was the body of a hermit who has lived in the area.  He was given the name “Amator” (the lover) due to his devotion to God, hence the town name Rocamadour (lover’s rock).

Where to start the visit? The first obvious place might be St Amadour’s crypt, build into the rock and which is supposed to be an ideal place for contemplation and devotion. Your second visit could be the” Chapelle Notre Dame” which contains the famous Black Madonna, a 12th century rendition of the virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus, a place where you can pray and/or also light to candle to the Madonna.

There is also the Great Staircase, whose 233 steps visitors have climbed on their knees to show their devotion. (Nowadays you can take the escalator to the top if you prefer).

If religous pilgrimage is not not your thing, you could stroll through the narrow streets taking in all the warm tones and shapes of the buildings or visit the many souvenir shops.

Rocamadour is also well known for its cheese, known as “Cabecou de Rocamadour”.  The cheese is made from goat’s milk following a very ancient recipe and has been awarded AOC status in 1996.

A well worth site to visit in anyone agenda.

Below are some of the pictures I have taken during my visit there.  Please feel free to comment.


“The Primal Blueprint” Book Review

The Primal Blueprint BookI have just finished reading “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson, and what a revelation it has been.  Mark tells us to forget everything about what we know about exercise, health and diet and go back to the beginning i.e. way back to our ancestors (cave men) way of living.  By following his advice, you should be able to reprogram your genes for an effortless weight loss, a better health and boundless energy.

He explains that if you want to lose weight you must moderate your insulin, i.e. “carbohydrate controls insulin, insulin controls fat storage”.  This can be achieved by eliminating all sugar and grain products (even whole grain) and by eating meat, eggs, fruits (especially berries), nuts and a high fat diet (the latter going totally against what most diet books tells you).  He explains this simple concept in great detail and emphasises that our ancestors did not have any sugar or grain products at their disposition thousands year ago but that they were healthy and had boundless energy.

The advice given is supported by extensive scientific research and is simple to follow.  A new way of eating for the rest of your life.

I have now been on this type of eating for 6 weeks;  to be truthful it has not been easy to give up bread and some sugary food but I have managed most of the time, and I do, indeed, feel much better for it with far more energy than I have had for many months.

There is a plus – I can have some sensible indulgences without feeling guilty  i.e. I can drink a moderate amount of alcohol (wine in my case) and I can have dark chocolate. Some studies have shown that cocoa contains flavonoids which is good for your health.  In fact cocoa contains more flavonoids that green tea and red wine.

So how can I go wrong, chocolate and red wine allowed, my sort of diet.

Joking apart this is a very interesting book to read and one which makes you think of how the food you eat affects your health, energy levels, immune system.

Exercise is also an important part for reprograming your genes but not the typical  grueling cardiovascular workouts, instead move frequently at a slow pace, lift heavy things and sprint once in a while.  Not to difficult to achieve I would say.


Word Press to Twitter “OAuth” Error

Have you come across the following message every time you are posting on your blog and using the WP to Twitter plug in?

“Twitter now requires authentication by OAuth. You will need you to update your settings in order to continue to use WP to Twitter.”

Well I have found a solution (to be truthful my husband has) and I am on the roll again.  What he did was to install “Curl” within php on the server. 

So if you have this error message showing every time you make a post, check that Curl is available within php on your server or ask your hosting company to confirm that it is available.

I hope this information will help some of you.

With best wishes