Category Archives: My Family

Destination Star Trek 50th Anniversary

I’ve been a Trekkie for a long, long time,
and I always wanted to boldly go to a Star Trek Con!

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Since my teenage years watching Jean-Luc Picard, “Make it so” has been a watchword, a phrase that encapsulates my own dreams, and the spirit of adventure that we all need. So, throughout The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager… (sorry, haven’t seen Enterprise, yet) and eagerly looking forward to the new incarnation, I am right there. Got the movies box set and enjoying the new films and parallel universe, and handing the fandom down to my children too, yes, I’m parenting well!

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© Lisa Shambrook – Caitlin Shambrook – Bekah Shambrook

Birmingham NEC was the destination for the 50th Star Trek Anniversary in Europe and we spent our Saturday amongst a sea of red, gold, and blue. Uniforms of all generations, and wonderful cosplay! Data, the Borg, Klingons, lots of Andorians, and many more aliens.

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© Lisa Shambrook – Bekah Shambrook

My daughters cosplayed as Spock and Jadzia Dax, Vince wore his Enterprise Haynes Manual t-shirt, and I wore sleek black with my DS9 communicator!

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© Lisa Shambrook

We saw Armin Shimerman (Quark – DS9), Walter Koenig (Chekov – TOS), Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris – Voyager) and Nicole De Boer (Ezri Dax – DS9) signing photos. Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi – TNG), Gates McFadden (Dr Crusher – TNG), Will Wheaton (Wesley Crusher – TNG), George Takei (Sulu – TOS), and William Shatner (Captain Kirk – TOS) were also there. We’d have loved to have seen Brent Spiner (Data – TNG), Michael Dorn (Worf – TNG), John De Lancie (Q – TNG, Voyager), Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker – TNG) and obviously Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard – TNG) but many of these actors had other commitments.

destination-star-trek-50th-anniversary-oct-2016

© Lisa Shambrook

I’d hoped to find exhibits of the ships, Enterprise etc, which would have been cool, but there was a great art exhibition, talks, and lots of mechandise.

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Destination Star Trek Art Gallery

Anyway, we had lots of fun, photo opportunities, great cosplay and the pleasure of being amongst our people! 

Here’s to the next 50 years
to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations,
to boldly go where no one has gone before…

Silver Wedding Anniversary – Twenty-five Years Together

Today, 5th October, Vince and I celebrate 25 years together
and our Silver Wedding Anniversary…

the-words-that-you-write-with-your-heart-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

I want to link to a couple of posts, the first is: our 20th Anniversary and our Twenty Expressions of Love…♥ I’m so moved when I read back over the words that our love has produced…

I want to add five more:

After twenty-five years we know each other well, we understand each other as well as we can, given our differences, and what we don’t understand we lovingly accept.

We both feel that spiritual and physical bond that holding hands gives you, and physical intimacy brings both immense emotional and spiritual intimacy.

Time is a blessing, time spent together strengthens and deepens our love, and walks on the beach, or through woodlands, or across mountains, or anywhere together increases and heightens our affection.

The love and humour our family has is an eternal bond, something that ties us together no matter where we are. We, as a family, will always be united whether we are oceans apart or sitting side-by-side, and the winds of time cannot change that, our family makes us whole.

We know the strength of a hug, of arms wrapped tight around each other. We know it in sorrow and in joy, and in unity of love.

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Twenty-five years – Vince and Lisa… One photo a year from 1991 – 2016

We’ve changed in many ways: in looks, personality, character, knowledge, wisdom, emotions, understanding, and much more. We’ve grown and become very different people to who we were twenty-five years ago, but we’ve found solace, compassion, love, strength, and passion within each other and a bond that pushes the boundaries of this life.

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On our Twentieth…

I’ve written a couple of other posts about love and relationships, so if you’re interested: How to Feel Loved – Discover your Love Strategy and learn about how you feel and give love, and: The Most Valuable Way to a Happy and Successful Relationship and see how kindness works.

Here’s to the next Twenty-five Years!

♥ With all my love ♥

From Two Extremes – Wild Camping to City Break

Wild Camping on Dartmoor and a Weekend in London
– you couldn’t find two more extreme activities
and we did both in one week!

From Two Extremes - Wild Camping to City Break - The Last Krystallos

Firstly, let’s explain the term wild camping: in the UK you are only legally allowed to camp out and pitch a tent on a camp site, unless you have permission from the land owner first. However, there are exceptions. Scotland, for the most part, allows wild camping (except in one or two regions) and Dartmoor. Do your research before you decide where to go. Dartmoor has a great website and forums are excellent for advice and help. Wild camping allows you to pitch your tent (only small tents) wherever you wish and as long as you abide the laws of the countryside and you only stay up to two nights you’re good.
Also on Dartmoor be sure to check out the Military Firing Range times…you don’t want to get caught in the middle of an exercise!

So, we took two 2man tents and (far too much) gear in rucksacks and off we went.

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Dartmoor tors, Dartmoor pony, sheep © Lisa Shambrook

We parked in a free car park in Belstone, just to the north of Dartmoor, and hiked up onto the tors. Now, we were beginners. I don’t even like camping! I abhor organised camps and dislike being tied to one place, or to other people…so this was an experiment. We thought of reaching Yes Tor, but we quickly realised we were carrying too much and weren’t as fit as we could be! Instead of miles of hiking we ended up at either Winter Tor or Irishman’s Wall. Being beginners we had no OS map, just a print out from the web…

Still, it was stunningly beautiful and we were off the beaten track and out in the wild!

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Pitching and taking down tents © Lisa Shambrook

We pitched and explored and set up a small camp. We had lots of fun, played games, talked a lot, learned more about each other, and had food.

So, a couple of things: We took a disposable BBQ – don’t bother. Wind, did no one mention the wind! We ended up using a gas camp stove instead for the most part, and find something as lightweight as you can! Think of food that either doesn’t need cooking, or is easy, soups etc and keep it simple. Baked beans in the morning, at dawn, on a camping stove was lovely! (And remember everything you take up there has to be brought back down – take all your rubbish home again) We carried a 4 litre bottle of water, just in case – we didn’t need it and it was extra unnecessary weight.

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View from tent, sunrise, family selfie, Dartmoor pony © Lisa Shambrook

There’s not a lot of privacy so choose your site well, you’ll need rocks or bushes to do your business behind. (And take a trowel if you need to) It really is back to basics! Don’t be shy…though the sheep up there are!

Sleeping. We took self-inflating mats to place our sleeping bags on, and for me that worked. I was worried my back wouldn’t hold out, but I took preventative pills and was careful. And I would just use a hoody or jacket for a pillow. Remember to take warm clothes, socks in particular! Even in a sleeping bag you can get cold.

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Vince and Lisa © Lisa Shambrook

Hubby didn’t sleep. Hubby has decided he’s never camping again! But he did take a look at the stars and stared in wonder at the clarity and beauty up there in the night sky!

I didn’t sleep much myself, half hour stops and starts, but that may have been due to hubby’s discomfort. Anyway, at 5am we called it quits and got up to see in the dawn. We’d watched the sunset the night before and now as the clock moved to 6am the new sun peeped over the misty horizon and graced us with its presence. It was mighty cold up there, sitting on the rocks wrapped in sleeping bags, watching the sunrise, but spectacular, and a sight not to be missed.

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Main: Sunrise on Dartmoor, moors, and bottom left: sunset, bottom right: sunrise © Lisa Shambrook

After breakfast we packed up and trekked back a much easier way. We were greeted in Belstone village by a herd of gorgeous Dartmoor ponies, and tired but happy, we made it to the car and I drove home, letting hubby catch up on sleep!

Two days later and we were catching the 2am coach to London…to experience the other end of the spectrum!

We stayed in Travelodge in Covent Garden, which was very good in comparison to some Travelodge’s we’ve been to. We slept well, on lovely beds, hubby mentioned the comfort more than once…

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Street Art, Captain Jack Sparrow, bubbles, living statue, Covent Garden © Lisa Shambrook

We ate out at Zizzi in Covent Garden too, absolutely gorgeous Italian fare, pizza and carbonara, and desserts to die for.

We’d spent our first day at the Science Museum, and had our first experience of IMAXWow! The Red Arrows simulator was cool, the others not quite as much, but we had fun.

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Les Miserables Queens Theatre © Lisa Shambrook

We saw our very first West End show, drinking in every moment of Les Miserables at Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. It was amazing and we’d happily watch it all over again! We know the show well, from the film, the DVD’s of anniversary shows, the soundtrack – everything. I had the original soundtrack when I was a teen and had always longed to go and see it live, and now I have! I can’t praise it enough.

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Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, The London Dungeons, Lion Brewery Lambeth Lion on Westminster Bridge, Tube © Lisa Shambrook

The next day took us to Westminster and all the touristy stuff. The obligatory Big Ben and Houses of Parliament pictures, and then The London Dungeons. I hadn’t expected much from the dungeons, most attractions these days are over-priced and we hadn’t been able to use our Tesco vouchers to pay for entry – plan ahead – The Dungeons can be covered with Tesco vouchers but they need to post your tickets to you. The Dungeons blew us away with a great show and fun history – think Horrible Histories and you’re right there. Another attraction we highly recommend!

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The Tate Modern Art © Lisa Shambrook

We wandered the Southbank, and ended up at the Tate Modern, which I’d always wanted to visit too. Now, I have a lovely husband – he’s not interested in modern art at all – but he patiently walked round the gallery, then waited out on the Thames in the sun, while we finished. That’s love.

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The London Underground and maps © Lisa Shambrook

London is busy. The tube is busy, the buses are busy, the pavements and parks are busy. There are people everywhere. I’m not a people person. But I did love the atmosphere, the street artists, the energy, the excitement, and my daughters drank it all in!

I might also have had a slightly obsessive interest in walking down streets found on the Monopoly board… We ate in Bow street, and we went to Leicester Square…

So, thus, we experienced both extremes in a matter of days…

My conclusion, if I pitch the stark, lonely, beauty of Dartmoor against the busy, social, bright lights of London, the countryside wins for me. I’m always going to be a country-girl, despite having been born and raised in vibrant Brighton! However, I’ve now spent more of my life in the country than the city and it suits me.  

So, what about you?

Are you a lover of the natural countryside or
do you adore the city and its bright lights?

Alzheimer’s Awareness Week – Forget-me-not…

This post is peppered with forget-me-nots
because Alzheimer’s is the thief of time
stealing memories with no compunction at all…
Please, forget-me-not.

Alzheimer's Awareness - Forget-me-not - The Last Krystallos

Dementia Awareness Week is the 17th to 23rd May and this post is painful to write because Alzheimer’s has made me very aware of what it can do. It’s stolen my mother and there was so much left unsaid – things that now will never be said and that leaves regrets and resentment in its wake.

Quoting from The Alzheimer’s Society website: The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse.

forget-me-nots, the last krystallos, alzheimer's awareness week,

© Lisa Shambrook

I don’t know my mother’s actual diagnosis, there are several types of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, but my dear father has always handled it with the ostrich approach, with his head pretty much in the sand. I understand this – it’s tough to see your loved one fade away in front of you and even tougher when they have no idea who you are. She has a professional diagnosis though and is on medication but it gets worse and there’s nothing to stop it.

For my parents’ privacy and respect I won’t go into their circumstances, my mother has many more illnesses and conditions, and everyone has different situations when this disease hits. But awareness is vital and help for the afflicted and the carers absolutely essential. The Alzheimer’s Society, whose symbol has also been the forget-me-not flower since 2012, is one of the first places to go for advice and they are wonderful, and Age UK have helped too, but Social Services and NHS help is also inevitable and crucial. Assessments need to be made and help given. I can’t report on the effectiveness of Social Services, as the planned assessment was cancelled and I haven’t yet heard back from them.  Be prepared for long waiting periods.

This is a disease that breaks hearts, and it’s on the rise. So is there anything we can do to prevent it?

forget-me-nots, the last krystallos, alzheimer's awareness,

© Lisa Shambrook

To try to thwart dementia the NHS recommends we should: eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, don’t drink too much alcohol, stop smoking (if you smoke), make sure to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

This is pretty much blanket advice and I shrug a little, this is the stock advice for a healthy life, not just dementia prevention.
What can you really do to help keep dementia at bay?

Analysis by Age UK suggested that lifestyle was responsible for 76% of changes in the brain and that people could go some way to avoiding the disease by adopting or quitting certain habits. Taking regular physical exercise, eating a Mediterranean diet, not smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation were all found to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. In addition, preventing and treating diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity was also found to reduce the risk.

I have also heard that learning another language, drinking raw fruit and veg, reducing stress and meditating, running 15 miles a week, laughing more, sleeping more and lowering your sugar intake can all help.
Learning a language, laughing, keeping your brain active and engaged all help create new neuro pathways in your brain and helps grow new brain cells, therefore keeping the brain busy and fully functioning. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells and once destroyed they cannot be recovered. Thus you see memory loss and lost skills that will never be salvaged.

These are ideas and helps, and current medication can halt the progress of Alzheimer’s to a degree too. However, more and more people are being diagnosed and current figures show that 850,000 people lived with dementia in the UK in 2015 and it’s set to rise at a rate that will result in over one million sufferers 1,142,677 in 2025.

forget-me-nots, the last krystallos, alzheimer's awareness,

© Lisa Shambrook

I wish I had the answers to Alzheimers and Dementia – but I don’t which is why I’ve linked The Alzheimer’s Society, but I’d like to finish on two positives:

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© Lisa Shambrook

Five Things You Should Know About Dementia from The Alzheimer’s Society:

It’s not a natural part of ageing

It’s caused by diseases of the brain. The most common is Alzheimer’s

It’s not just about losing  your memory – it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks

It’s possible to live well with dementia

There’s more to a person than the dementia

They suggest we:

Spend more time with friends and relatives who are living with dementia (I can testify the carer will need support and friends, dementia in a partner is lonely, frustrating and terribly heartbreaking)

Learn more about dementia and maybe become a Dementia Friend

Volunteer and Fundraise…which brings me to my last thing…

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© Lisa Shambrook

Bekah, my daughter, having seen the effects of Alzheimer’s first hand, has decided to do a Tandem Sky Dive and raise money for The Alzheimer’s Society. She is planning to leap from a plane and parachute on the 10th September and needs sponsors to help her achieve her goal!

Please think about supporting her and those suffering with this tragic disease if you can. Any funds raised online on her Just Giving Page go directly to The Alzheimer’s Society, but she will need physical donations which go to the jump and the charity, so if your know her personally please ask her for her sponsor form and do it direct!

Thank you so much in advance, anything we can do to help those suffering and fund research and help is imperative and very much appreciated!   

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Bekah’s Just Giving Page for her Sky Dive Sponsors
in aid of The Alzheimer’s Society – Just click this link

Reasons to Love Autumn…

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
Humbert Wolfe

title-reasons-to-love-autumn-the-last-krystallosAutumn is my most favourite season, closely followed by Winter…
find out why and tell me why you love Autumn too!

Dawn's blush © Lisa Shambrook

Dawn’s blush © Lisa Shambrook

Watching dawn’s sliver of pink spread across the indigo sky…

Autumn's fruit - conkers and acorns © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn’s fruit – conkers and acorns © Lisa Shambrook

Acorns, conkers, horse chestnuts, hazelnuts…
not the actual nuts, but I love acorn cups, shiny conkers and nut shells! 

Ward off the chill © Lisa Shambrook

Ward off the chill © Lisa Shambrook

Hunting out your favourite hats and gloves,
twining soft scarves around your neck and wrapping up in the chill.

Boots... © Lisa Shambrook

Boots… © Lisa Shambrook

Boots…need I say more?

Discover discoveries... © Lisa Shambrook

Discover discoveries… © Lisa Shambrook

Apples are finally in season and our trees offer a
harvest of Discoveries and Worcester,
and then I enjoy my most favourite Russets.

Soft woolly jumpers! © Lisa Shambrook

Soft woolly jumpers! © Lisa Shambrook

Jumpers. I’m Scrooge when it comes to turning on the heating,
so I grab a jumper instead. Find your favourite cable knit and stay warm.

Time to dress up! © Lisa Shambrook

Time to dress up – way back in the year 2000! © Lisa Shambrook

Halloween, the best chance of the year to dress up and have fun!

Don't ever miss a hug... © Lisa Shambrook

Don’t ever miss a hug… © Lisa Shambrook

Cuddles to keep warm, nothing better than cosying up with the ones you love.
Hugs, especially when they last over a minute, make you feel good!
Cuddle on the sofa and enjoy the new season of TV after summer’s screen drought.

Slipping on the leather jacket... gloves, hats and scarves... © Lisa Shambrook

Slipping on the leather jacket… gloves, hats and scarves… © Lisa Shambrook

Jackets, leather ones to be precise…
I live in my leather jacket and love slipping back into it!

Twilight magic... © Lisa Shambrook

Twilight magic… © Lisa Shambrook

Twilight and dusk…I adore being able to stand in the chill of evening and stare up at the stars. Darker evenings give me a sense of adventure and awe.

Hot Chocolate...Mmmm... © Lisa Shambrook

Hot Chocolate…Mmmm… © Lisa Shambrook

Hot Chocolate… hot chocolate with marshmallows (if that’s your thing) and cream,
wrap your hands around a mug and stay warm!

Glitter in the sky! © Lisa Shambrook

Glitter in the sky! © Lisa Shambrook

Fireworks! Watch the sky light up with sparkles of fire on the 5th of November!

Autumn crimson © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn crimson © Lisa Shambrook

Leaves…the turning of the leaves as the trees shed their summer apparel.
The colours of autumn delight, inspire and invigorate me…

Soup and bread... © Lisa Shambrook

Soup and bread… © Lisa Shambrook

Soups and casseroles, and fresh bread. My favourite is butternut squash
seasoned with black pepper and thyme…

Dragon smoke... © Lisa Shambrook

Dragon smoke… © Lisa Shambrook

The enticing hint of frost that makes our breath swirl like dragon smoke!

…and the fact that after Halloween – Christmas is on its way… Yay!

“It was a beautiful bright autumn day, with air like cider
and a sky so blue you could drown in it.”

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

Why do you love Autumn?

How We Lost 8 Stone in a Year – My 365 Days with My Fitness Pal

how we lost 8 stone in year, my 365 days my fitness pal, last krystallos, losing weight, weightloss, Last year, a new phenomenon hit my family’s life – and we lost 112lbs in 365 days.

Bridesmaid Bekah © Lisa Shambrook

Bridesmaid Bekah © Lisa Shambrook

My oldest daughter began using My Fitness Pal to lose weight. She wanted to be a slimmer bridesmaid for her best friend’s wedding, and once we saw the pounds falling away, we joined in!

I’d been unhappy with my rising weight for a while, and though I wasn’t overweight I was far off my preferred mark on the scales. So I decided to follow Bekah’s example and download My Fitness Pal, a free calorie counting app. Several weeks later, after a loss of a fair few pounds, hubby joined in. We very much wanted to return to sizes we were many years ago…

What we once were... © Lisa Shambrook

What we once were 2001… © Lisa Shambrook

Vince was overweight, but not unhappy, just disillusioned with the idea of dieting. He didn’t think he’d stick to a diet, as such, and didn’t believe it would be easy to lose weight. It was seeing Bekah lose a stone (14lbs) that spurred him into action. We explained that calorie counting wasn’t dieting in the sense of banning certain foods, but more about understanding calories, how much we needed to eat and how many calories you needed to allow you to lose weight.

What we were in 2011 and now in 2015 © Lisa Shambrook

What we were in 2011 and now in 2015 (or from cosy to bad ass) © Lisa Shambrook

The recommended calorie intake for a man in the UK is 2,500 Kcal, and a woman 2,000 Kcal, advised by the NHS. My Fitness Pal asks about you, what you weigh, how much weight you want to lose and gives you a daily calorie intake to achieve this*, over a period of time.

*Note: it’s advisable to contact your Dr, when making serious weight loss plans or if you have health problems.

healthy food, salad, egg and bacon salad, soup, watermelon, tomatoes, lettuce, eggs,

© Lisa Shambrook

We soon realised we knew nothing about calories or the amount we were actually eating each day, and, certainly, it was far more than the recommended intake. For our goal weights My Fitness Pal reduced our intake, mine was decreased to 1,200 Kcal, to lose one to two pounds per week. You can adjust the intake to what you desire.

We very quickly learned how many calories lurked in each item of food we bought! We then went about changing our diets. We didn’t eat much processed food to start with, I prefer cooking from scratch, but we did learn that our portions needed to be downsized, fast! We cut our intake of carbohydrates drastically, reducing potatoes, bread, pasta etc by about 80%, and I soon realised I was putting cheese, large amounts, on and in everything! Dairy and carbs were the first things to go. I stopped buying mild cheddar completely, preferring much smaller amounts of good quality mature cheese instead. We switched to semi-skimmed milk, and cut the amount of desserts and chocolate. We didn’t ban anything, but discovered that healthy, low calorie was better for us. We experimented with soups and salads, and lean meat, and cut our portion sizes.

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My Fitness Pal © Lisa Shambrook

Now, far from making us hungry, the smaller portions helped us appreciate what we were eating and stopped us feeling bloated from ‘too much just because we could’ syndrome. We found low cal snacks and just ate less of what was higher in calories.

My Fitness Pal requires you to fill in what you eat each day and how much you exercise. From that information it predicts what your weight loss will be. It was dead on. The weight began melting away.

trainers, weight loss, tape measure,

© Lisa Shambrook

Six months after starting using the app, we joined the local gym. Up ‘til then our exercise consisted of long dog walks, and as we lost weight, the walks got longer. Now we added a gym plan, and instead of just losing weight, we began to tone. Vince noticed the results most, the strength exercises worked for great muscle development and cardio offered stamina and fitness. Calorie counting to lose weight works, but exercise is the key to maintaining and toning.

My two stones - all gone © Lisa Shambrook

My two stone – all gone © Lisa Shambrook

After nine months, I’d pretty much lost 2 stone (28lbs) and hit a plateau. You can kick start a plateau in several ways, have a few rest days, then step up the exercise, or vary your calories and then reduce for a few days. I plan to lose more, but have decided not to use My Fitness Pal to do so. It taught me everything I need to know and I can count my calories in my head with the knowledge I have. Our family eats much healthier and I don’t feel the need to log it every day. You can find me on My Fitness Pal as lastkrystallos, and I may return to it one day, if those pounds creep up on me!

Vince's weightloss, before, during and after.... © Lisa Shambrook

Vince’s weightloss, before, during and after…. © Lisa Shambrook

So at the end of 365 days, I lost 2 stone (28lbs), Bekah lost 3 stone (42lbs) and so did Vince, a total of 8 stone (112lbs) between us!

We are truly shadows of our former selves who love the vitality and va va voom we’ve caught…now we get out into the fresh air and enjoy it! 

cloud chasing, clouds, wispy clouds, blue sky, the last krystallos, lisa shambrook,

Chase the Clouds © Lisa Shambrook

What are you doing to become healthier, or have you lost weight and how did you do it?   

Burn with the Brightest Flame and Believe in Yourself…

Dream big, and you can be anything…

dream big, burn with the brightest flame, believe in yourself,  the last krystallos,

Driving home last week, through the most beautiful welsh countryside, I felt on top of the world, truly amazing! I was thinking how blessed I and my family are living our dreams. What a great feeling…and then The Script and Will I Am came on with ‘Hall of Fame’, and I realised just how true the lyrics read.

“You can go the distance. You can run the mile. You can walk straight through hell with a smile. You can be the hero. You can get the gold. Breaking all the records they thought never could be broke.
Yeah, do it for your people, do it for your pride. How are you ever gonna know if you never even try?
Do it for your country, do it for your name, ’cause there’s gonna be a day…
When you’re standing in the hall of fame, and the world’s gonna know your name, cause you burn with the brightest flame, and the world’s gonna know your name, and you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame…”

It’s what I’ve always believed…you can do anything, be anything…
but, you’ve got to live your dreams…

castle on a cloud, lisa shambrook, the last krystallos, clouds,

Dreaming of the castle on a cloud © Lisa Shambrook

There was a time, many years ago, when I was a shy little thing and I let my dreams escape. I didn’t believe my dreams were worth dreaming. My default was to put aside my own feelings but be sure to fix everyone else. This continued from early childhood into my teens, where I allowed someone else’s preference push me to a different path than the one I wanted, and then on into adulthood.

I became the mother with holes in my boots for a decade because I refused to buy myself a new pair, deeming everyone else more important. There’s a time and a place for others to take priority, but that should never be a permanent condition!

My family © Lisa Shambrook

My family © Lisa Shambrook

As I hit a breakdown and emerged, still snow blinded, the other side, I began to be coaxed by my wonderful husband and children into believing in myself. Now I know that I’m important too, that my dreams are worth dreaming, and more than that, they’re worth putting into action!

There’s nothing I want more for my children than for them to live their dreams…

My oldest is extremely talented and enthusiastic, and always threw caution to the wind when embracing her dreams! She lacked direction, but as she’s matured, her direction evolves and her plans are coming to fruition. We’ve been able to instil self-belief and a confidence I only wish I’d had thirty years ago! She’s recently had the strength to do something my younger version would have cowered from, which is to close some of her enterprises and head towards a new ambition. She stands with assurance and ability and dreams. My soul bursts with pride as I see my child grow and plan and act towards her new horizon…

My son is moving into an exceptional period of his life. He struggled greatly at school, and had some real soul searching to discover what he wanted to do once he left. He has since excelled in the work he’s done, to the point that his employer would love him to stay on at work, but he’s made a decision to explore life. He has, of his own volition, decided to serve a ministering mission for the church which we belong to. This means accepting a call to preach in a place he’s never been. He’s been called to serve in Halifax, Canada for the period of two years, and he is bursting with excitement and opportunity, and so am I…

My youngest is still at school and of an age where I struggled to be anything but a shy little bird. Exams and subjects she’s not keen on bury her, and I see her heart trying to decide where it lies. Those middle teens are years I’d not choose to return to, but they are the years where you grow, where you begin to learn who you are and where you want to go. These are the years where my daughter will begin to grow wings, to emerge from within and to want to fly. These are the years when I will refuse to stand in her way, and I will encourage with everything that I have, just as I have with her siblings, to be just who she will be. ..

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

My husband and I both waited years to begin to achieve. I lived with clipped and broken wings for many years, but I want my children to believe in themselves, to spread their wings and fly.

To do that they, and we, need to dream, and dream big!

To quote The Script again “Be students, be teachers, be politicians, be preachers, be believers, be leaders, be astronauts, be champions, be truth seekers…” and we can, we can be all of those, if we just dream and believe!

Did you get encouragement to believe in yourself?

Have you achieved what you set out to do, or is it an ongoing goal?

Share your dreams and encouragement…

Families That Cosplay Together – Stay Together…Cardiff Comic Con

Have you ever wanted to release that inner geeky child?

If yes, then Comic Cons are the way to go! 

lara croft tomb raider 2013, lara croft, cosplay, the last krystallos,

Getting ready to play – Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2013 – © Lisa Shambrook

My daughter, Bekah, of Arkhdrauth Cosplay, is a cosplay enthusiast and after her first Comic Con dressed as Thranduil, we were all raring to have a go… So after a few months of preparation and much costume design…we headed off to Cardiff Comic Con.

indiana Jones cosplay, cardiff comic con, Antti Karppinen Photography Alias Creative

Vince Shambrook – Indiana Jones by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

maleficent cosplay, cardiff comic con, Antti Karppinen Photography Alias Creative

Bekah Shambrook of Arkhdrauth Cosplay – Maleficent by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

Bekah entered the Community Masquerade and placed First with her magnificent Maleficent cosplay!

ghost call of duty cosplay, cardiff comic con, Antti Karppinen Photography Alias Creative

Daniel Shambrook – Ghost Call of Duty by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

Daenerys cosplay, cardiff comic con, Antti Karppinen Photography Alias Creative

Caitlin Shambrook – Daenerys by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

This was a family affair and we had a great time. The atmosphere at Cardiff was brilliant and the cosplayers fantastic. I also really loved seeing all the families arriving with little cosplayers…start young!

the last krystallos, cardiff comic con, cosplay

Cardiff Comic Con – Daenerys and Margery, Ghost and Star Lord, Indiana Jones and The Penguin, Maleficent and Maleficent, two Indys, Daryl Dixon and Lara Croft – © Lisa Shambrook

the last krystallos, cardiff comic con, cosplay,

Cardiff Comic Con, Maleficent and Star Lord, Daenerys x2 and Margery, Daenerys, Tauriel, Aragorn and Lara Croft, Daryl Dixon and Daenerys, Space Marine and Ghost, Star Lord, Lara Croft and The Terminator – © Lisa Shambrook

The organisers did a great job and special thanks must go to Antti Karppinen of Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative who took the most amazing photographs of almost all of the cosplayers, because he believes that the fans, the cosplayers, are what Comic Con is all about and he wants to recognise the passion and work they put into their costumes! He made a lot of cosplayers very happy with his brilliant photographs!

So, to release the child in you…dress up…honestly, it’ll do you the world of good! 

Have you ever wanted to Cosplay, if so who would you choose?

If you have already – who did you go as? 

Family Photoshoot – Post Apocalyptic Survivors

Sometimes family life feels a little like surviving the apocalypse – and with the genre so popular right now – we decided to go dystopian with our family photoshoot!

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

We’re ready…

It had to be something big…Dan is going away for two years and we wanted to do something epic! So we sourced and customised clothes, made weaponry and set out to Pembrey Country Park. The old, hidden munitions tunnels were perfect!

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

What’s in there?

Cait, Dan and Bekah looked the part, with dystopian designs and post apocalyptic accessories!

Survivors...

Survivors…

Roxy accompanied us, ready to chase off attackers…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Nothing’s getting past us…

And I showed off my kick ass scar…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Don’t even try it…

We made it out of the bunker and scared off the enemy…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

War cry!

And we were ready for anything…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Battle ready…

It was cold, very cold – but also epic, very epic!

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Hardened survivors…

All photos were taken with Bekah’s Nokia Lumia 1020 via tripod, and we had lots of fun falling over on that grassy hill, so that may be why we don’t look so post apocalyptic serious!

Please don’t use our photos without crediting and linking to us: The Last Krystallos and Arkhdrauth Cosplay. But feel free to Facebook, Tweet, G+ and Pinterest them from here!

Weapons were made from children’s toys spray-painted matt black, Vince’s bullet belt is literally made from a belt and gold spray-painted batteries held on with black electrical tape!

Hair and make-up all by Bekah, and Bekah’s antlers come from the amazing Hysteria Machine!

We put together our own outfits, lots of ripping, tearing, cheese grating and painting to distress.

So, we’ve done Steampunk, railway tracks, snow, and more…what next? Who knows?

What would you do for a family photoshoot?

All of the things...

All of the things…

You can find me, Lisa, on my website and Facebook, and Bekah at Arkhdrauth Cosplay on FB and her blog Adofaer and Arkhdrauth. We also run an Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy…come and visit us and like us on Facebook to know about all our latest special offers!

Cosplay Heroes – The Fans

My daughter just returned from her first Comic Con: Cardiff Film and Comic Convention at the Motorpoint Arena. She had an amazing time, and one day she’ll take me with her!

It was the culmination of great desire and months of hard, hard work creating her own costume…to go to a Comic Con and not cosplay? No way!

She finally decided on Thranduil from The Hobbit and got down to it. She needed much, including a sword, crown, elf ears, long blond wig and an elven coat. I saw it in many states of array and watched the whole costume come together. I was wide-eyed at the range of her talent, talent she already had and new ones! The silver coat was miraculously hand sewn from scratch, and is gorgeous!

The money, time and dedication that goes into a cosplay costume is legendary, and a lot…then she got to wear it, and she looked stunning!

Bekah - Thranduil by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative Nov 2014

Bekah – Thranduil by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative. Cardiff Film and Comic Con – Nov 2014

She got to take photos with Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor and Radagast The Brown and also sat upon the Iron Throne! She was stopped, too many times to count, by other fans wanting to take pics with her, and she loved the time to meet so many like-minded cosplayers! The costumes were first rate…and this is where the most amazing guy turned up.

Antti Karppinen, a young Finnish photographer, was there with a small set up and took photos of the fans. Seriously, this young man’s talent is fantastic, but his ethos was even better…he wanted to take pictures of the fans because he realised what the Comic Con was all about – without the fans the celebrities wouldn’t be celebrities – and he wanted to give something back.

Please read his story here, you won’t regret it and take a look at the other stunning photos he took! Assasin’s Creed, The Beast, Constantine,Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Super Girl, Spiderman, Loki and more…they all rock! Follow him on Facebook too.

His photo was probably the culminating moment of Comic Con, a permanent photographic record of a costume that took hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears, and lots of determination and love! And a photo of my daughter that I can treasure…Now take me next time!