If you have opened this post then you might have noticed things look a little different. The new blog is up and running, and you are here, so welcome!
Back in 2012 when I started the Camelid Castle blog, it was a way to share photos and news about the kids (well, kid – Astrid was the one and only then!) and to get some of the many thousand photos off my hard drive and let people actually view them. I don’t always take the best photos, but I do enjoy sharing them. I also enjoy sharing what we have been up to and especially all our travel stories. The blog is part travel blog, part photography and part my life with 2 small munchkins (even if it isn’t all that interesting some days).
Over the past few years I have posted quite a bit, and have especially enjoyed the travel blogging and photo sharing. My old blogspot blog was getting a bit tired and not letting me create posts the way I wanted to. I was also manually editing lots of html to get decent photo layouts and spending way too long creating each post. With a big trip coming up, and lots of blogging ahead, I finally convinced Anto to help me do a blog upgrade, so that we can customise things the way we wanted and needed. It’s been a lot of work to get it up and looking half decent, and things are far from perfect, but hopefully the new home for Camelid Castle will be a good one.
You’ll now find Camelid Castle at this url http://camelidcastle.hups.net/ but the old Camelid Castle blogspot blog is still there, and all the posts are still as I originally wrote them. All the old posts have been migrated across to this new site but we are still ironing out the kinks and some of the images and layouts of the really old posts are not as I originally posted. This has caused Anto to lose a great deal of time and sleep over the past few weeks. He promises to get them fixed, but with days running out before we go overseas, for now they are all there, and readable. If any post is a bit wonky, we will eventually fix it, but head over to http://nicanto.blogspot.com.au/ and view the post there. You will also notice some of the cover photos of the older posts are currently missing. The posts and images are all there, there has just been a slight glitch with getting the featured images up and running, so bear with it for now! In my spare 3.2 nanoseconds between now and February I will try and work on it, but I’m sure you can overlook a few minor glitches for now.
Here on the new blog you will notice a new layout with featured images for most recent posts on the home page. Hover over each image and you’ll see the post title and date pop out. Up in the top left hand corner you’ll see that you can now view posts by category. The travel category is now broken into regions and countries (these pop out in a menu as you hover over them). To make finding posts even easier, down at the bottom of the post there are links to recent posts, recent comments and a word cloud for commonly used categories for my posts. You can also easily search through the archives (with the drop down menu) by date and category. Hopefully this makes it easy for you to find any posts you are interested in!
One of the big changes is that the text and photo layouts are now responsive and should adjust their size depending on your screen size. The blog is also much more phone friendly and you should be easily able to view posts on your phone, with the text and images being scaled to phone size easily. My poor blogspot photo layouts were not all that phone friendly!
I also now have the ability to include image galleries in posts. This will allow me to include lots of images in a format that is easy to use and easy to view. Here I will share some of our Christmas card photos to show you how the galleries work. Here is Astrid with her pine cones and Christmas tree baubles having a wonderful time…. If you click on each gallery photo, it will load it in a separate window to be viewed at a larger size.
I will be using some of the gallery layouts to quickly share images from our daily travels over the next few months. I’m still planning on writing about our adventures and doing more detailed posts and photo collages, but they should be displayed in a more user friendly way. Hopefully the new blog will save me hours of html editing, time better spent editing photos and eating yummy food!
There is also the option to view all the images in a lightbox. Click on any image and it will be enlarged over screen on a translucent background. You can then left mouse click or arrow to scroll through images. A nice way to view any images in a larger format.
There is still a comment section at the bottom of the post. I do love comments, so please comment away. We are going to try and integrate facebook comments into the blog comments, but again that isn’t up and running yet so for now you can comment on the post (which I love) or on the facebook links.
I think that is about all for now. Have a look around, test out some new features and let me know what you think of the blogs new home. If something is not working as you expected please let me know. Ironing out glitches over the next day and a half before we leave is the plan!
So, in the title of the post I mentioned Christmas has come a little early this year. The problem with going away for December and January is that you get to do all of those Christmas activities a whole month earlier! We’ve had lots of Christmas parties and end of preschool activities. I haven’t shared many photos recently (the whole moving the blog thing has really put a dent in new posts) but I thought I should share some of our Christmas photos.
Every year I send out Christmas cards with the kids on them. It’s a good excuse to go and take some photos that are ‘Christmassy’. This year I decided to take the kids across the road to the reserve area and have some fun with the pine trees and Christmas baubles. It was a 37 degree afternoon but they had a ball hanging baubles on the tree and playing hide and seek. It didn’t matter that it was stinking hot, staying up late and running and jumping through the grass and playing with the alpacas was more fun than going to bed (the light was pretty good too!).
We coincided the photo shoot with walking the alpacas. The kids thought they should get to walk them over to the paddock, Inti and Chimu are always very obedient for them!
Then the kids had a good run around and enjoyed decorating the pine trees with the baubles…….
I always end up with way too many photos to use on the Christmas cards. I think they are pretty cute, but then again I’m extremely biased! Here are some of my many favourites in a gallery………
Of course when Mum wants to take photos of you, playing hide and seek is more fun than doing what she wants. They had a fabulous time playing hide and seek with each other (and Anto).
Then it was time to put the leads back on the alpacas, bribe them with a peppermint (the kids favourite job) and head home.
Not only was I organised and had all the Christmas card photos done by mid-November, I also had presents bought and wrapped. We had a family Christmas on the last weekend of November so the kids could have a mini-Christmas with grandparents and aunts and uncles. We had Saturday afternoon of drinks, nibblies and present opening followed by a BBQ and dessert.
It was a little weird doing Christmas in November but the kids had a ball. I’ll quickly share a few photos, since I certainly won’t get time to do it while we are away!
We had a small number of presents, just to and from people we weren’t travelling with. The kids were still thoroughly spoilt though, and had a wonderful time. Soren was particularly fond of his toy ‘Scully’ cat that meows and walks and his toy drill. He kept trying to lobotomise Scully with the drill! I must remember not to annoy him…
The nibbles, drinks and BBQ were pretty good too! We were all stuffed to the eyeballs. Not a bad effort for a little afternoon BBQ!
We barely had room for dessert, but the candy cane and brownie icecream, followed by the white chocolate, marscapone and raspberry trifle were pretty good. No one went home hungry!!
Well that is a quick wrap up of the new blog and our ‘early Christmas’ adventures. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I am going to test out the blog with another post before we depart, with some details of what we are planning to get up to. In the meantime have a look around the Camelid Castles new home and all feedback is welcome.