London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony Highlights

28 07 2012

I’m still completely blown away by last night. I thought it’d probably be some artsy fartsy representative work of our countryside, history and be a little bit dull to be honest.
The first 15min or so I thought I was right, but it greatly improved!
I’ve been trying to find the best bits to paste here, but there’s nothing official on youtube, so instead here’s links to some BBC videos.

  • BBC Highlights
  • Bond & The Queen – Do other countries think this is normal day-to-day for us?! Oh, and they both parachuted into the stadium, don’t believe me? watch it!
  • Mr Bean – I never ever expected the British sense of humour to be displayed in the opening ceremony, so to have this treat – utterly brilliant!
  • The torch lighting – This was outstanding. We’d all been speculating as to who might light the torch, but I don’t think anyone would have guessed this. A beautiful gesture. A part of the cauldron brought from each country, and lit by multiple representatives of the next generation. Amazing. (But still with a selection of the famous Olympians bringing it to the stadium to keep everyone from complaining!)
  • The Red Arrows – no major British event is complete without this!
  • There were definite fluctuations through the evening, from surreal to superb and back again several times, but overall just fantastic! (assuming we ignore Paul McCartneys minor muck-up against his backing track…!)

    I was worried before it started that we’d just humiliate ourselves or be boring, but it was fantastic!

Not a rant at crazy drivers, almost pity!

23 07 2012

So last week I was driving home from work and there’s a bit where there are cars parked along the edge of the road and so only room for one car at a time to go down the road. Oncoming there was a car that was trying to parallel park and so I stopped to wait patiently to let it do so. Behind it was a learner driver and an ice-cream van so I just decided to wait and let them all go through. The cars behind me had other plans. Two cars pulled out round me, in front, and then had to go round onto the pavement (narrowly avoiding a pedestrian) to get round the learner and the van. I mean what did they gain from that? 20 seconds off their journey? Ironically, as I then let through another 5 or so cars, they all thanked me, apart from the one person I knew, who didn’t recognise me and just drove on through!

But as I drove home it dawned on me. Who is going to get home flustered and stressed, and who is going to get home peaceful? Who is more likely to have a stupid accident one day?

I didn’t feel rushed, it looks like patience pays off 🙂

Do you see her face? – Gilmore Girls quote

18 07 2012

“They talk so fast by they talk so true” as J.D. would say!

I’m currently working my way through the box set of Gilmore Girls and loving it! Coming towards the end of season 4 this evening there was an episode where a guy was listening to a love advice tape – the sort of thing that sounds like Oprah etc and most people would totally ignore, but there was this one quote that was actually pretty lovely:

Whose phone calls or visits are never unwanted or too long? Do you see her face?
Who would you most like to have in your life to ward off moments of loneliness? Do you see her face?
When you travel, who would make your travels more enjoyable? Do you see her face?
When you’re in pain, who would you most like to comfort you? Do you see her face?
When something wonderful happens in your life, a promotion at work, a successful refinancing, who do you want to share the news with? Do you see her face?
Whose face appears to you, my friend? Whose face?

So cute 🙂

My new tiny room

22 05 2012

A month ago I moved house – I’m sure the stress was nothing compared to those buying somewhere (I’m only renting in a house share) but it was an entirely stressful experience! The letting agency made everything about 50 times more difficult than it should be, cancelling appointments we were on our way to or being an hour late for ones we were already at, and far too many other things to list. It was definitely not an enjoyable time!

But now we’ve been here a month I think we’re settling in pretty well. And as is the way when you do something like this, everyone’s standard “how are you” question for me at the moment is “so how are you guys settling into the house?”.

To start with I had the same answer every time, it’s really lovely, a lot more modern and therefore warmer than the last place, nice and homely, but oh, it’s tiny. And it really is small, every room (other than the downstairs toilet of all things) really is quite little. Kitchen space is completely minimal, and in the smallest of the bedrooms, I only have a hanging rail as there’s no space for a proper wardrobe! (To give you an idea, the length of the room is the length of a single bed plus the width of the doorway, and the width is too narrow to fit a single bed lengthways – that’s the best way I can describe it!)

But a few days later it struck me. That tiny little bedroom, could well be the size of the house that my Compassion sponsored child lives in. And not just him, his parents and siblings too. The entire family could be living in a dirty space, the size of the space that I cram with my worldly rubbish and little old me. Who am I to complain? My room may be small, but I still have space for most of my things in there, it’s heated, water tight and clean. I also have a bathroom, kitchen and living room, with safe running water, electrical appliances, internet – so much more than my sponsored child has.

My tiny room is great, I have nothing to complain about.

Tower of London Jog 2012

17 05 2012

So last Wednesday, I did a 5k jog (and actually jogged for over half the distance!) around the Tower of London! I ran with 2 wonderful friends, Nisha and Jamie, who agreed to come with me! And considering I haven’t exercised at all this year, I don’t think a time of 42 minutes 21 is all that bad! Of course, Jamie showed us all up by going on and doing 10k much faster, but still 🙂

Other than the rain, the exhaustion, the pain, it was a great day! We’re already overwhelmed by how much we’ve raised and how much people have supported us, but if you wanted to add to that, you can sponsor us here

And because everyone loves a good photo, I thought I’d share a few of them too 🙂

Items from the clearout!

20 04 2012

So we’re in the process of moving, which is the best way to motivate a clearout EVER!

I’ve already got rid of some kitcheny things, and as a house we are fast becoming Oxfam’s main supplier, but below are some things I’d love to either give to someone who could use them and enjoy them, and one thing (so far) that’s up ‘for sale’.

Ideally this would be people *I know* in Surrey or Romsey to avoid postage… yea, this blog post is only really aimed at people I know in real life – sorry!

For Sale
2 Man tent, made by Blacks, quite a few years old but well looked after. Only for sale as last year I bought a 3 man for a bit more space.

Giving away
Various music books:

  • Flute playalong with CD books? (I guess they’d also work with any other instrument in C at similar pitching eg violin?) I have Shrek 1&2, Beatles and Grease!
  • Violin Disney Movie Magic – no CD (again, most instruments in C should work?)
  • Abracadabra Violin 1&2 (starts at beginner level and works up a bit)
  • The Young Violinist’s Repertoire Book 1 Violin & Piano parts (little indication of level but all pieces are in 1st position)

Boot’s own brand hair straighteners (to give you an idea of quality, they were only £10 when they were new!)

…I’ll try to keep this updated as things get added/removed and repost it on facebook/twitter as appropriate

“It’s just not right”

25 03 2012

Friday night was Sport Relief, which raised a record breaking amount on the night and did a fab job of entertaining us all!

But one thing stood out to me, so many of the celebrities, on their VTs from the world poorest countries used this phrase: “It’s just not right”.

Last year Lenny Henry, Samantha Womack, Angela Rippon and Reggie Yates went and lived in the Kibera slums in Kenya, and the documentary was huge. I think it really brought it home to a lot of people what life is like for those who have to live like that on a day to day basis, and realised that we really need to do something about it.

So this year, Sport Relief seemed to have a much bolder attitude. In the past these sort of shows have sometimes felt a bit apologetic that they’ve had to interrupt the “fun” parts of the evenings with the VTs, but this year, with each video that they showed, they admitted that while it might be hard to watch, it’s something we need to see, to know what’s happening to people who are only seperated from us by geography.

A few years ago, I’d’ve been sat here sharing with you some of the funniest sketches and bits and pieces from the evening.
Today, I’d like to share with you some of the most powerful and challenging videos from the evening.
Most of these videos are about a named child. Not a statistic, a real person.
Definitely don’t feel obliged to watch them all, but I just thought I’d put up a selection.
There’s not a single one of these that isn’t moving, upsetting and challenging. So if you’re feeling fragile, just be warned…


Philip with David Walliams

Christine with Miranda Hart

Florence with Miranda Hart

Benjamin with Lorraine Kelly

Jose with Lorraine Kelly

Vaccines with John Bishop

Kariatu (little bit of a guess at the spelling) with John Bishop

Catriona with JLS

Margaret with JLS

After one VT, I forget which one, Davina McCall was struggling to keep it together as she did the next link – I was impressed with how composed she was considering how upsetting I’d found it, but again, it was really good to see that these videos were affecting the presenters, not an inconvenience to the show, but the point of the whole thing. It’s a real problem.

I’d really encourage you to donate to Sport Relief. Just because they raised a record total that doesn’t mean it’s enough. Just because we are winning the battle against poverty it does not mean that the fight is over – there’s a long way to go!

The other thing I’d like to give you as an option if you don’t like to give and not know exactly where your money is going, then maybe consider sponsoring a child with Compassion UK. I’m not speaking as a member of staff here, but as a sponsor – I’m building a personal relationship with my sponsored kids, and getting to know them and hearing what the money does – incredible!

What we’re taught at school

10 03 2012

Last weekend I was at my parents and mum had dug out a whole load of my old primary school work for me to go through and decide what was worth keeping and recycle the rest.

I spent most of the Saturday reading through science, history and geography stuff from junior school, and found some of it really interesting, it was like reading it for the first time!

Which begs the question my mum asked – what’s the point in teaching those things at school? Who honestly remembers all the facts they learn about the Romans or the names of the muscles or different settlement types?

There’s obviously value in methods and processes like maths and English, things that are life skills. But random facts – was that really worth the effort they put in?!

It was interesting to read it all, don’t get me wrong, but I barely remembered any of it! Maybe it’s just me…

Do you remember those things you learnt at school?

Lessons learned: Sometimes saying no is better

29 02 2012

I help out at a kids club at church, and last week, the guy due to do games this week said to me that he was away this week and would I mind doing it.

I have real difficulty saying no here. If he’d said would I like to, I probably would have said no, but he asked if I minded. Big mistake.

So, this week came around, I had a couple of game ideas in my head, people at work had helped with some ideas and I thought I might just about manage it.

I got down to kids club, sat with them through the craft, then went to the kitchen while they had drinks. By this point I’d realised how scared I was getting. I was too scared to even talk to them. My game ideas were falling apart due to not being right for their age, not having the right number of kids, not having the right equipment, and generally, just having boring ideas.

Someone came up to me and asked if I was ok and what my plans were, and quite frankly, I fell apart.

I’m a wuss and I’m sorry.

They told me it wasn’t a problem, someone else could do it, and I spent the rest of the evening with the older group which actually went really well.

But. How much easier would it have been for everyone, (particularly the wonderful people who stood in for me) if I had said no the week before and maybe caused inconvenience for someone, but at least would have given them 7 days to prepare rather than 7 seconds.

Pathetic isn’t it? But I think I learnt a lesson tonight.

Thing’s I’m happy about

23 02 2012

As I left work today I was suddenly overwhelmed by how many things I’m happy and grateful about, even just over the space of this afternoon

  • Today was brilliantly sunny, and even though I didn’t get to go out in it, just the knowledge that this is the beginning of the end of winter is enough to make me happy – summer is on it’s way!
  • I work with some incredible people, and was reminded of this massively today as we prepare for one of them to go off and have a baby
  • I had to take my coat of driving home due to the weather and forgot how freeing that feels
  • I’ve rarely been more busy at work but actually it feels good!
  • I left work a little late after helping clear up from the baby shower and finishing some bits off, and yet it was still light! didn’t even need headlights on initially
  • I have a free evening!
  • I have great friends at work who agree that payday is definitely a good enough reason to eat out tomorrow
  • I wore a skirt today, and while it looks like something my mum would wear, it was fun 🙂
  • For lunch I ate just meat, crisps, a strawberry and three pieces of cake. Oh, and a mini egg later.
  • Someone has invented a folding plug!

I’m aware there’s nothing there about a roof over my head, food on the table or God’s incredible love, mainly because today it was just so many little specific things that stood out to me that I thought it’d be fun to share 🙂

People who know me will be aware I can bit a bit of a habitual whinger, so hopefully this makes a change 🙂
Do you see how sunshine lifts my mood a little drastically?

What random things are making you happy right now?