Friday, 31 May 2013

Open air swimming in Hathersage, Derbyshire

I love swimming outdoors, one of life's most luxurious pleasures. It doesn't happen that often for me for fairly obvious reason (I live in the UK, in Manchester; it's cold and damp). Last Sunday I went for my first out door swim of the year at Hathersage pool in the Hope Valley in the middle of the Peak District.
It's a fairly perfect sort of place.
The pool is heated and surrounded by some rather fancy 1930s details including a bandstand!
 I'd been a few times as a child but not for at least 15 years so it was rather an adventure. I got the train to over to Hathersage sharing the carriage with plenty of people heading out to walk in the hills.
I spotted a tiny speck of a microlight plane high up in the deep blue sky

This picture from

After swimming I wondered around Hathersage but I think that's enough pictures for now, so I'll share some more tomorrow.
I finished my day with locally made vanilla ice cream. Pretty much a perfect day out

Monday, 27 May 2013

Flowery brights

I love the fact that I'm suddenly seeing all this natural beauty all over the place.

Forget me nots are some of my favourite flowers, so delicate and sweet, they really look like proper little flowers that a child would draw. They're pretty easy to ignore but they make a big impact when there are big bunches growing together. I don't think they last well once cut or I'd bring a little posy of flowers inside for my bedside table.

On Saturday I walked to the local post office and admired lots of beautiful front gardens. I was reminded of a conversation that happened a few years ago. My then house mate and I were walking to our local supermarket through a short cut, we passed by a beautiful garden that I always admired and had once tried to compliment the owners on.
It was a really lovely garden with lots of fancy plants and a visible green house full of orchids. I mentioned to my house mate how much I liked walking past it each time and that I'd tried to talk to people in the garden about it, when she turned to me and told me not to talk to them because they were squirrel feeders! I was kind of amused by that, but she was adamant that a few years earlier there had been a big squirrel problem where they'd chewed all sorts of wires and stuff and that the couple in the house with the lovely garden had been responsible for it because they kept feeding squirrels.
I'm not really sure if it was true or not but I remember how annoyed my house mate was.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Eurovision fun

I love Eurovision, LOVE it. I love the cheese, the confusing dances and inexplicable props. I love the voting and seeing people representing all the different countries that are supposedly in Europe (Israel, Azerbaijan?).
Last year I watched Eurovision with my friend Kathleen and her brother.This year I went to a party held by the friend of a friend. It was a lot of fun, especially being allocated countries and dressing up. My lovely friend Kathleen was given Bulgaria who unfortunately were not in the final but she went with the best costume ever. She dressed as the Womble Uncle Bulgaria!!

I had Russia as my country and donned my favourite old flowery blouse that is vaguely folksy and "European" I also wore a fake fur coat that my mum had made for me as a teenager. Fun

I'd really like to go and see the show like next year. Denmarks not too far so maybe it'll happen?
I'd also really like a more fun UK entrant not singing a ballad. Eurovision is a place for cheese not for serious songs, much as I've loved having Engleburt Humperdink and
*Last two pictures stolen from facebook

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Playing with colours (what to do with all the left over crochet blanket yarn)

 I've been having fun recently playing with all the scraps of yarn from my crochet ripple blanket. I've not quite finished the blanket but all I'm doing now is the edge, so I won't need these little ends of colour. I really like mixing and matching the shades together. Each little granny square has three rounds and is Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn chosen specifically for its brightness. I don't have a lot of all of the colours so sometimes I've only done a couple of stitches and then had to change colour but I think I quite like the random colour placement.
 I've done a couple of gradient squares, the red centre, then orange with a yellow border in the top left corner and the opposite corner with a dark green border. I'd like to make some more like this, maybe for a more deliberate project?
When I've finished edging the ripple blanket, I'm hoping I'll have enough yarn left to add another round to each of the squares and then join them all together. Maybe it'll be big enough for a scarf or a cushion cover or a baby blanket.
I'm having some troubles at the moment, either with blogger or my computer, uploading pictures takes several hours and doesn't always work even then, I wanted to show lots more pictures. Hopefully this will sort itself soon.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Record Breaking Gospel Singing

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to sing with London Community Gospel Choir as part of their 30th Anniversary celebrations and World Record Breaking largest Gospel choir attempt.
I've written a little bit previously about joining an amazing gospel choir when I wrote about about being on The X Factor with them. I really enjoy the weekly rehearsals and getting to know lots of people who love singing.

We left Manchester very early on a Sunday morning after holding a big summer concert on the Saturday. There were rather a lot of tired faces as we set out at 6.30am. After arriving at The Southbank Centre and changing into our uniforms we went straight on for a short performance in one of the bar areas.
The afternoon was filled with rehearsals for the evening concert and  grabbing a quick bite to eat at The Good Food Festival also happening at The Southbank Centre.


The concert was amazing! We were seated in the choir stalls directly at the back of  the stage and got to sing behind amazing gospel singers such as Jocelyn Brown, all of London Community Gospel Choir and Jahmene Douglas who we'd already sung with on The X Factor.

We were also part of a Guinness World Record Challenge for the largest ever  gospel choir and are now all record breakers!

This is the song we sang with London Community Gospel Choir. I'm on the front row and I messed up the moves, so annoyed with myself but it sounds amazing!

Friday, 10 May 2013

My Birthday!

My birthday, last Friday got off to a very good start. I slept in until half ten and came downstairs as my brother had just finished making my cake. My brother is a very good baker, he made a four layer coffee cake with mixed nut brittle on top. YUM! Breakfast of cake and coffee while I opened cards and presents was a perfect start to the day

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wednesday Remembering

 This is a regular post featuring an old picture of mine, usually from former travels, with a short description of the story behind the photo.

I've written before about Burkina Faso and returning there last summer after having been away for 8 years.
This picture is of the birthday cake that was bought for myself and two other girls that I went to Burkina Faso, who also had birthdays over the same weekend with by local friends. I am 'Helene'. That birthday, my 19th was the first I'd spent away from my family. We went swimming and had fun. One evening we went out to celebrate all our birthdays,we ate pizza and chips and cake and felt full and happy.
Burkina Faso holds so many memories, so many first time away from my family times.
I particularly chose this picture as last Friday was my birthday. This cake, with my French spelt name and new friends away from the UK represented quite a lot about who I was becoming and who I want to be