Welcome to my blog, Whats this about then?

This is a place where I will be posting all sorts of things not just things relating to Derby and Derbyshire. On here you will find details of any videos I’ve made of things in Derby and also Time-lapse, stop motion animation, Tutorials etc. If I find some useful software for PC or iPhone then I will feature it here.I’m sure that there will be something of interest to someone on my many posts.Please leave comments on any posts if you like them.
Don’t forget if you are new to my blog and would like to read through the previous posts then see the Blog Archive section on the left side of this page.
Also there is a Search box at the top left of the page if you are looking for something but cant remember where it was. I am a trustee member of "Friends of Friar Gate bridge", aiming to get this bridge restored.

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Video - Christmas lights on peoples houses in Derby 2011.

Here is my latest video, one which I've been meaning to create every year but never got around to it. Its just a few clips of some houses in Derby that have lots of Christmas lights on them.
Lots of people have Christmas lights on their houses but some houses like those featured in my video really "go for it" in a big way.
Some people do this for Charity and some because they like to, I would do it too but those animated Christmas lights cost a fortune.
If your one of the people in Derby that do this for Charity then let people know in the comments where they can go and see your display.

Hope you like my video. Have I featured your house?
One of the clips is of the Furnace Inn pub rather than a house but I as in the area at the time so included it.

I may make more of these videos if I get time.

Hope you like the rather unique Christmas music :
Music - Tis' The Season To Be DUBSTEP! (Xmas) by IAMDINO
Used under creative commons license (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Happy Christmas


Monday 19 December 2011

Video of 2011 Sheffield Christmas lights with night time views of Peace Gardens and Railway Station waterfall.

Here is a video I shot on Thursday/Friday night in Sheffield of the 2011 Christmas lights, I have also included
lots of night time footage of the Sheffield Peace Gardens and the Railway Station water feature.

We were in Sheffield to see two 80s bands, Adam Ant on 15th and Go West on the 16th, both at the Sheffield o2 Academy. Both gigs were great.

Here are some videos of the Adam Ant gig in Sheffield on Thursday 15th December 2011:

Ants Invasion.
Stand and Deliver.
Puss 'n Boots.
Kings of the wild frontier.
Vince Taylor.
Ant Music.
Red Scab.
Physical (You're So).

Here are some videos of the Go West gig in Sheffield on Friday 16th December 2011:
The Tracks Of My Tears.
Love the way you lie.
Black and Gold.
Bright lights bigger city (cover).

The cheapest train ticket from Derby to Sheffield is with a Derbyshire Wayfarer, this costs £8.90 and that's unlimited travel on train and bus all day! This ticket can not be put in the barrier machine at Derby so you have to goto the wide barrier entrance to get the guard to let you through, remember to keep the ticket.

Happy Christmas

Tuesday 13 December 2011

How to make a 2012 personalised calendar from your own photographs, easy to follow video tutorial. Free templates provided.

Updated to include Portrait aspect ratio templates.
I have had a few requests for my free templates with the photo frame geared up for images taken in Portrait mode.....

My 2012 Calendar Tutorial Guide.

Looking for a personalised gift this Christmas that will be enjoyed all year?
Its less than two weeks to Christmas and your wondering what to get, how about creating something unique that nobody else will have?

A couple of years ago I created a set of calendar templates and a video tutorial on how to use them.
The free 2012 templates have a decorative framed image area into which you can import your own images to produce the nice edge effect below.

My tutorial has proved very popular with over Thirteen thousand people following my guide so far.

Here is an example of what you will be able to create using my free 2012 Calendar templates.
Go on make someones day this Xmas by giving them one of the best and very unique presents that they can enjoy all year.

Here is one of my photographs using my new portrait aspect ratio templates :

My 2012 Calendar Templates. Here is January, what will you create?

My photograph of Derby's Guild Hall in one of my landscape calendar templates :

My 2012 Calendar Templates. Here is January, what will you create?

It will soon be Christmas and you may find this of use, I created an easy to follow tutorial on how to make a printed calendar using photographs YOU have taken.
The monthly calendar templates are provided free so you can make a unique gift for someone right now.
All you need is Corel PaintShop Photo Pro (or any photo editing software that supports layers such as Gimp, Photoshop etc), A colour printer, some Matt finish paper and 12 images of your choice.

If you are interested in giving it a go then have a look at my 2012 Calendar Guide page here :
Complete guide on how to make a 2012 personalised calendar from your own photographs. <-- Click me now to start making a great gift for Christmas.

I hope this has inspired you to have a go at producing a truly unique personalised Xmas present that you will be remembered for, for the whole year ahead. Use Matt Paper as I suggest and it will not cost a lot of money to make several of these calendars.

Matt Paper allows printing of high resolution images but has a finish that you can write on which you need for a calendar! Matt paper can be bought for as little as 4 Pence per sheet.

In my written guide I have supplied detailed instructions on how to use my templates with Photoshop and even the free image editing software Gimp.

If you do find my tutorial of use then please leave a comment on either the video or my blog post saying what you created.


Sunday 11 December 2011

Dunelm Mill , New store opens on Ascot Drive, Derby on December 15th 2011.

Dunelm Mill will open its new store on the corner of Ascot Drive and London Road this Thursday.
Thats December 15th 2011.
Dunelm is a Home textiles business with over 120 stores across the UK.
The Dunelm store that was located half way down Ascot Drive on the Osmaston Park Industrial Estate has now closed and relocated to this new larger store. This new Dunelm store has a floor space of 36,700sq ft so they can stock more lines. It even has a coffee shop "Pausa Cafe". It has increased the car parking spaces from 80 to 182. They offer a "Reserve and Collect" service where you can order items online

You may remember that this corner plot of land had been empty for a few years since B&Q relocated to Osmaston Park Road. Good to finally see it being put to use.
Here is a video made about B & Q Ascot Drive before it closed.

I have created a high resolution 360 degree view of this new Dunelm store so you can see where exactly it is located. Its like Google Streetview but more detailed and recent, as I only photographed it on Friday!
As you will see in my 360 degree view its quite a large store on the corner of Ascot Drive and London Road.

Click the link here to view my Dunelm Mill 360 view (or click the thumbnail image):
360 degree view of the new Dunelm store on Ascot Drive, Derby taken in December 2011.

The opening of this new Dunelm Mill Store will be conducted by the Mayor of Derby Councillor Les Allen, at 9am on Thursday December 15th 2011.

Dunelm Mill, Derby Opening Hours
Monday     9.00am 8.00pm
Tuesday    9.00am 8.00pm
Wednesday 9.00am 8.00pm
Thursday 9.00am 8.00pm (9.00pm during lead up to Christmas)
Friday 9.00am 8.00pm (9.00pm during lead up to Christmas)
Saturday 9.00am 6.00pm (7.00pm during lead up to Christmas)
Sunday 10.30am 4.30pm

Smart Phone mapping pin for Dunelm, Derby. <-- Click this link on your Smartphone.

Want to see how it used to look around here back in 2008 then watch my Wilmorton by car video.

The NEW address for Dunelm Mill is :
Ascot Drive
DE24 8ST

Hope you find this of use.


Wednesday 7 December 2011

Toad in the hole - My first ever attempt at cooking this classic British meal.

For many years now I have  used Aunt Bessies Toad in the Hole or ASDA brand but thought I'd have a go at making my own from scratch. I have never made Yorkshire Pudding or Toad in the Hole ever before. For those that don't know, "Toad in the hole" is just a Yorkshire Pudding with Sausages embedded in it. I will describe making both below.
At this time of year why not serve your Yorkshire pudding with Turkey and cranberries !

The results were really good and I have made both Toad in the hole and Yorkshire Puddings several times now. If you fancy having a go at making them here is what I did.

Don't worry you don't have to be a trained cook to follow this, its very simple. I have written down very detailed step by step instructions. Read though them now before you start so you know its going to go well for you.

Andy's Yorkshire Pudding Recipe - Serves 4
350ml of semi-skimmed Milk.
250g of Plain Flour (I used Homepride Plain Flour 1Kg)
4 Large Free-range Eggs (I used Asda own brand free-range eggs)
Olive Oil (I used Asda Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

You will also need
A deep baking tray about 12" x 9" x 1.5" deep (i.e standard 33cm roasting tin). A4 sized !
Electronic measuring scales
Electric stick Hand Blender

1) Pre-heat the oven to 220C (Gas mark 7)
2) Pour some Olive oil into the baking tray until the entire base of it has about 2mm of oil covering it.
Put the tray onto the top shelf of the oven and leave it to get very hot while you prepare the batter mix as follows.
3) Using a small jug measure out 350ml of Milk.
4) Crack open the four large eggs and put them (White and Yoke) into the milk. (How to crack an Egg) Add a pinch of salt to the mix.
5) Using an electric stick hand blender, mix the milk and eggs for a minute, try and get as much air into the mix as possible by moving the blender up and down and around in the mix.
6) Using scales measure out 250g of plain flour. While plunging the stick mixer in and out of the milk/egg mix start adding the flour into the mixture slowly bit by bit.
7) Once all the flour has been added continue to mix for a minute, ensure that its fully mixed in and there are no lumps left at the bottom.
8) Leave this mixture to rest somewhere cold for 5 mins.
9) Once the oven has reached full temperature, remove the baking tray with the hot oil in it and immediately pour in all the mix and put the baking tray back on the top shelf of the oven. You should try and do this in less than 30 seconds.
10) Now leave it in the oven for 30 minutes. You should notice that after about 10 minutes the Yorkshire should start to rise. It's quite magical seeing it rise up out of the roasting tin.
Keep an eye on it towards the end of cooking.
11) You should be able to remove it from the roasting tin with little effort at all.
12) Personally I serve this with Chicken breast, French cut green beans, Stuffing, Mashed potatoes and lots of gravy.

Some Tips to help you.
Try and get plenty of air into the batter mix, this is what helps it rise.
You are best to only remove the hot oil from the oven for a few seconds in order to pour in the mix.
Do NOT leave the oven door open for ages otherwise the results will not be as good.
By "top shelf" I mean the second set of slots down, the very top one would be too hot and it would hit the roof of the oven.
My oven is a fan assisted oven, every oven is different so keep an eye on the pudding during the last 10 minutes of cooking to ensure it does not burn the top of it.
Don't be tempted to open the door during cooking otherwise it will deflate and never recover !
Use an Electronic Cooking Timer. rather than guessing 30 minutes.
I would say this pudding serves about 4-6 people if you are having meat and veg with it.

Here is what my Yorkshire Pudding looked like :
My Yorkshire Pudding
Click here for a larger photograph of my Yorkshire Pudding.

As you can see its risen out of the roasting tin. The corners of the Yorkshire pudding are 5 inches high.
Quite often it will almost touch the top of my oven as you can see here.
Yorkshire Pudding

Fourth attempt at making Yorkshire Pudding :
Yorkshire Pudding

Don't know what Toad in the Hole is? See Wikipedia Toad in the Hole.

Andy's Toad in the Hole recipe - Serves 4-6
This is pretty much the same as above but we are going to add Sausages to the batter to create the classic meal Toad in the Hole.
You will need all the same ingredients as for my Yorkshire Pudding but also some sausages.
How many and what type is down to personal preference.
For a roasting tin of 12" x 9" I would suggest 8 to 12 sausages depending on how many people you are serving it to. The first time I made this I actually used 6 Vegetarian Quorn sausages and 6 Cumberland sausages.
I suggest part cooking the sausages for about 6 mins in a frying pan with Olive oil, this will make them look better when you cook them in the oven later. Once you have precooked the sausages like this, put them into the hot oil and back in the oven for 3 mins then remove the roasting tin and pour over the batter mix as per my Yorkshire Pudding instructions.

Slam it in the oven on the top shelf for 30 minutes.

This is what my first attempt at Toad in the hole looked like. This is half of it before the Gravy.
I used 12 Sausages altogether, 6 Vegetarian Quorn sausages and 6 Cumberland and apple sausages. This was far too much for two people, this is a large steak plate and its too big to get half of it on the plate!
My Toad in the hole
The wine is Gallo White Zinfandel Rose Produced by Ernest and Julio.

Second attempt at Toad in the hole, this one has 8 sausages in it but was still far too much for two people. I woud say it serves 4-6 people depending on how greedy you are :)
My Toad in the hole second attempt

I hope you enjoyed this and that it inspires you to have a go at making it yourself.
It always tastes better when you make it yourself compared with shop bought frozen ones.
Leave a comment if you followed my recipe and say how they turned out for you.


Monday 5 December 2011

Video - Bonnie Prince Charlie Annual Battle Re-enactment in Derby. Sunday December 4th 2011

Here is my latest video : Bonnie Prince Charlie Annual Battle Re-enactment in Derby.
I filmed it on Sunday December 4th 2011. Recorded in 1080p HD so you can watch it at fullscreen in high quality if you have fast broadband and a high spec PC.

Were you at this event?, Perhaps you're in my video.

In the City of Derby, every December since 1990 The Charles Edward Stuart Society have organised this colourful pageant and re-enactment battle on Derby Cathedral Green which culminates in the laying of wreaths at the foot of the Bonnie Prince Charlie statue.

At 02:00 you can see them reach the Jorrocks pub orignally "The George Inn", in Iron Gate, Derby was a coaching inn used by the Duke of Devonshire as his headquarters when commanding the Derbyshire Blues, in readiness for the invasion by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in 1745.

When the prince arrived in Derby on 4 December, he called at the inn and demanded billets for his 9000 troops. The event is re-enacted every year on the anniversary of the Prince's arrival.

My 2011 Video in Derby.

Hope you enjoyed my video, give it the thumbs up and comment if you did.

Who was Bonnie Prince Charlie :

For photographs of this event in previous years see my website :

And also :


Saturday 3 December 2011

Bonnie Prince Charlie battle re-enactment this weekend 3rd and 4th December 2011.

Update : 2011 video now online.

This weekend, Saturday 3rd December 2011 and Sunday 4th December 2011 sees this annual re-enactment.

The video above is one I made of the 2006 battle on Derby Cathedral Green.

On Saturday, a camp will be set up by Jacobite re-enactors at Swarkestone, which will be overwhelmed by Redcoat soldiers loyal to King George, then retaken by the Prince's men.
Map location :

On Sunday, the Jacobite army will enter Derby, marching from the Council House down East Street and St Peter's Street and across the Market Place to Iron Gate, where they will challenge the mayor.
This starts at 12:00
Do NOT got to Wilmot Street where it normally starts from otherwise you will miss the entire march!

Interactive Route map for the march:

View Jacobite re-enactment marching route in Derby. in a larger map

The bronze statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie on horseback that takes pride and place on the new Cathedral Green is by sculptor Anthony Stones and was unveiled in 1995, to mark the 250th Anniversary of the Prince's advance to the city.

Who was Bonnie Prince Charlie :

View my photographs from previous Bonnie Prince Charlie events :

2003 in Derby
2004 in Derby
2004 at Swarkestone
2005 in Derby

Turn up and show your support for all the people that take part in this re-enactment.
For more information on this event see HERE.


Friday 2 December 2011

Video - Christmas lights from Home Bargains, Waterfall Lights and Colour changing acrylic decorations.

Christmas lights from Home Bargains, Waterfall Lights and Colour changing acrylic decorations.

These are some extreamly cheap but attractive Christmas lights I bought recently from Home Bargains in Derby.

The first lights are called "Waterfall lights" I would call them Dripping Icicle tubes. These are outdoor lights. It comes with 5 plastic tubes with 14 very bright white leds in each that sequence from top to bottom to give the effect of water droplets falling. It comes with mains adaptor and lots of cable.
Product bar code : 1031 8874
These cost £1.99, seriously ! How can they do it that cheap.

The second set of lights are "Colour changing acrylic decorations". These are small battery powered items with a very bright tri-colour led in them that changes colour every few seconds. There is a small slide switch underneath to turn it on and off. Its powered from 3 little coin sells. It comes with the batteries!

These cost just 69p each !!!
There is a similar type to this in Wilkos but they are not as bright and cost £1.50

I got these Christmas Lights from the two Derby branches of Home Bargains. The large Home Bargains is on Bradshaw Way next to Matalan and the original store is on Moore Street, off Normanton Road.

aka TJ Morris

Looking at the electronics I was wondering how they have managed to drive 14 leds in sequence using the IC with just 8 legs. Must be using charlieplexing, very clever.


Thursday 1 December 2011

Westfield Derby Christmas opening hours 2011, Get your presents during late night opening

If your planning on doing some Christmas Shopping in Derby then here are the opening hours
for Westfield Derby on the run up to Christmas.  In Derby, late night shopping is on Thursdays and Fridays until 11th December, from the 12th of December onwards its every weeknight!
As well as Westfield Derby there are shops in The Lanes and bespoke high-end boutiques in the Derby's Cathedral Quarter.
Derby's Westfield Shopping Centre.
Want to find a shop in Westfield Derby? use this A-Z listing for all 205 shops.

Westfield Derby opening Hours:
From Monday 14th November to Sunday 11th December
Monday 9am - 6pm
Tuesday 9am - 6pm
Wednesday 9am - 6pm
Thursday 9am - 9pm
Friday 9am - 9pm
Saturday 9am - 7pm
Sunday 10:30am - 4:30pm

Monday 12th December 9am - 9pm
Tuesday 13th December 9am - 9pm
Wednesday 14th December 9am - 9pm
Thursday 15th December 9am - 9pm
Friday 16th December 9am - 9pm
Saturday 17th December 9am - 7pm
Sunday 18th December 10:30am - 4:30pm

Monday 19th December 9am - 10pm
Tuesday 20th December 9am - 10pm
Wednesday 21st December 9am - 10pm
Thursday 22nd December 9am - 10pm
Friday 23rd December 9am - 10pm
Saturday 24th December 9am - 5pm 
Sunday 25th December Closed 

Monday 26th December 9am - 6pm
Tuesday 27th December 9am - 8pm
Wednesday 28th December 9am - 8pm
Thursday 29th December 9am - 8pm
Friday 30th December 9am - 8pm
Saturday 31st December 9am - 5pm
Sunday 1st January 2012 10:30am - 4:30pm 

Showcase Cinema Opening Hours
Monday 10am - 1am
Tuesday 10am - 1am
Wednesday 10am - 1am
Friday 10am - 3am
Saturday 10am - 3am 
Sunday 10am - 1am

Don't leave your xmas shopping too late !