Friday, 28 June 2013

Review: Printerpix Photo Books

With all the photos we take of our adventures as a family, I'm always keen to try out new providers of photo products which bring the images on the external hard drive to life. A new kid on the block (to me) is printerpix, who gave me some photo product credits to play around with and test their products.

I went for a photo book, as it was my dad's birthday and as he's not close by and can't follow the children's adventures, it seemed a suitable undertaking.
So let's start with the finished product: It IS rather beautiful. I chose a scrap book style because I'd always meant to make a scrap book but never got around to it and the design appealed to me instantly (of course there are countless other designs to choose from, many with a particular theme in mind, really offering a wide choice). There are borders and frames around the photos which make the finished page look very special and catch one's eye, and of course it's that kind of thing that you simply can't do if you do it yourself. The colours are vibrant, the images all sharp and even the one image that came up with a warning of low quality looked very nice. At £43 for a hardback book, it's definitely competitively priced. And Opa liked it, which is not an easy achievement.

However, I had a hard time getting there. I do take my time over these things, wanting to do them just right. I also never just let the programme do its thing and just create something out of my uploaded photos. I do like to create themes, and to change layout to suit the theme/photo.

Now, all of the things I wanted to change/customise are doable, which is great. The software is definitely capable of a lot. However, it was a pain in the backside doing it: First of, in spite of a very useful short tutorial, it took me ages to find the zoom function to actually get a decent view of the page that allowed to make any changes at all. But even the zoomed in view was not detailed enough, so there were many mistakes made because I couldn't make out where I should click. I should say that I work on a notebook and on Firefox, so it is possible that the same issues may not be experienced with a bigger screen and a different browser. So after a while I gave up on adding descriptions because the view of the letters was so tiny that I couldn't check my spelling, and time was running out to get it done in time. Thankfully, it was easy to delete existing text boxes and their contents, if they were obscuring parts of a photo that I'd rather not have obscured. Other customisable elements were also hard to deal with, I struggled to apply a frame to a picture if it wasn't pre-set, and gave up eventually too (I'm sure if I had preservered, it might have worked, it certainly looked that it should be possible somehow).

I liked that you could easily save your project, so my stop and go approach wasn't an issue and no data was ever lost.

When it came to buying the book, it never appeared in my basket, which was rather odd, but was still in my projects. I had to contact customer service who were super quick to resolve the issue, so the customer support is ace (and had I known that they respond in real time almost, I would probably have asked them about the issues I had in the first place).

So overall I think Printerpix has some really high quality products to offer but the software interface could be made more user friendly by adding a zoom option. Of course, you could just let the programme do the magic and create a photo book for you and it'll be fine, but for someone who likes to be in control, it's a bit cumbersome.

Disclaimer: I received credits for Printerpix photo products in return for a review post.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Down at the Mela

Every year, as part of the Glasgow West End Festival, the Mela transforms Kelvingrove Park into something rather special. We love the Kawa Circus (I'm a bit of a fan of street artists anyway), and our rather aimless wanderings brought us to storytelling, apple juice making, the best vegetable curry I've had in years and bumping into a number of friends we hadn't seen in a while. For once we managed to stay clear of overpriced rides because apple juice making and storytelling totally roped the girls' attention in. We were so busy enjoying these highlights that we kind of only happened across that we didn't even explore all that the Mela had to offer. Definitely an excuse to come back next year.

Today  I loved the way my big girl became so focussed on squashing apples and pressing juice, on listening to wonderful stories and on being enthralled by the Kawa Circus. This child of mine who is ever busy moving and has boundless energy, totally immersed in the process of apple juicing, or in the stories that appear to become real in her imagination, and then amazed by the magic of the circus.

And I felt rather sad having to wave goodbye to friends who are leaving Glasgow. 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Enough Food for Everyone

1 in 8 people go to bed hungry every night.
At the same time, there is enough food for everyone.
Around here, we throw food away while around here too, people go to bed hungry.

It's not right and a better world is possible, if we put our energy towards it.

There are 10 days left before the G8 meet and today will see the London leg of the Enough Food IF campaign events in Hyde Park. I'll be travelling there today accompanying a group of 9 Young Leaders, young people aged 14-18 who've been involved in campaigning on child poverty in the UK with Save the Children.

I'm very excited, I don't get to London very often and it's rare that I take part in big campaign events these days. It's great to be able to be part of this, and see the next generation get behind the issues that my generation still hasn't managed to solve.

I'll be tweeting on route, my Twitter ID is @cartside. We'll be spending about 11 hours on the train to be in London for 4 hours, and it's so going to be worth it.

In the meantime, please have a look at this video and check out the Enough Food IF website. Sign up and be there in spirit if you can't be there in person by uploading your picture for the big screen.

There is enough food for everyone in the world and it's our responsibility to ensure nobody goes hungry, because nobody needs to.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Getaway

Of course we adore our children, but sometimes, just sometimes, it's also great to have a bit of a break. To do something that's neither work nor child related and not even a home chore.

My favourite getaway has usually something to do with making things, and while one could say that I'm free to do this after the kids are asleep, truth is that it doesn't happen a lot. Too many chores, too tired, not enough light. Above all, too tired (did I mention that already?)

So I had this cunning plan of gifting a crochet class to my wonderful sis-in-law, and cheekily joining in the fun. Ahem, that wasn't actually the plan but that's kind of what happened. A morning crochet class with Kat of Slugs on the Refrigerator (incidentally one of my favourite blogs ever, with never ending beautiful and inspirational pictures of things involving yarn, kids having fun and generally all that makes life worth living, that bring a smile to my face with every post). While the mamas were having fun up the road in Alloa, the four kids were left with my beloved hubby to jump on a trampoline.

Oh the bliss of it all, being treated to not just a fabulous crochet lesson but also tasty AND pretty cupcakes in herstunning studio, filled to the brim with little treasures and so much love to detail that it was actually not an easy task to focus on the crochet hook (some of which were also distractingly different to anything I'd seen before).

Time flew and when the time drew to a close I was sure we'd only just sat down and no way that 3 hours could have passed just like that, time clearly flies when you're enjoying yourself. Thankfully the weather was stunning so it was great to leave into the sunshine and an afternoon of being spoiled with lunch waiting for us, more cakes and Italian souvenirs by t'inlaws (who'd arrived in the meantime). We even worked hard on our crochet "homework", while the kids were having a blast with the hose...

Summer in Scotland. When it comes, nothing can beat it.

PS Kat has a few more crochet classes scheduled (including one in July in Glasgow's Stitchery), check out her blog for details and to sign up.




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