Wednesday 31 July 2013

July Happiness

Five things which have made me smile this month...
1. Watching my friends fall in love with one of my favourite shows by my favourite theatre company -
Kneehigh Theatre with their magical performance of 'Tristan and Yseult'
Adverts fro Kneehigh Theatre's Tristan and Yseult
2. My tickets arriving for the Edinburgh Fringe - this time next week (touch wood) we'll be well settled into our octolodge and will have enjoyed about 7 shows already!
Edinburgh Fringe tickets
3. A lovely afternoon in the sun in Weymouth, lazily swimming in the sea (it was so warm!) and a massive knickerbocker glory to round off the day.
Punch and Judy stall at Weymouth
4. Gromiting!
Carosello Gromit
5. My gorgeous summer dress from Joe Brown's. I really like this picture Andrew took of me in West Bay, mainly beacuse it's unusual for me to look anywhere near that good in a photo!
Girl in summer dress
What little things have made you happy this month?

The Midweek Hop - Quack Quack

A weekly musical feature inspired by Desmond Carrington's 'The Music Goes Round'
Ami jukebox mechanism
'Ami E 120' 1953 Jukebox

This weeks theme is...Quack Quack
Inspired by those feathered flippered beaky friends!
1. Rockin' Goose by Johnny and the Hurricanes

There seems to be rather a lot of quacking in this song!
'Rockin' Goose' entered the chart on 29th September 1960 reaching Number 3. 

2. Saturday Nite at the Duckpond by The Cougars

A rock 'n' roll spin on the classic ballet Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky
'Saturday Nite at the Duckpond' entered the chart on 28th February 1963 reaching Number 33. 

3. Disco Duck by Rick Dees and his Cast of Idiots

Just when you though the 1970's couldn't get any sillier...
'Disco Duck' entered the chart on 4th September 1976 reaching Number 6. 

Happy listening!

Tuesday 30 July 2013

We All Scream For Ice Cream

I didn't know this but across the pond over in the US, apparently July was National Ice Cream Month.

Although it might not be celebrated over here, the hot and sunny days we had for most of the month were certainly the perfect ice cream and ice lolly weather.
My favourite ice cream when I was younger was Zoom lollies, made by (I think) Lyons Maid. They were the rocket shaped ones with three different flavours; I know lots of shops and other companies have tried doing their own versions but they never quite taste the same.

Source: Marke's Ices

I quite liked Nobbly Bobbly's and Solero's too but you can still get them in the shops today so they don't quite have the same rose-tinted nostalgia as Zoom lollies do.
My top tip for ice cream nowdays is find a Poundland shop - they usually have an ice cream freezer and obviously, everything's £1. You have to pick and choose carefully though as some of the things you can get cheaper in a newsagent but more often that not, they have Magnum's for sale, selling at a good 50p-£1 less than ice cream vans and other corner shops. Bargain!
Anyway, Lakeland have got some really cool ice cream inspired picnic items at the moment. The 'Walls' range includes cool bags, mugs, plates, flasks, glasses, plates and my favourite - the tin tray,  all decorated with some of the UK's best loved ice cream and ice lollies.

Lakeland Walls items

Lakeland Walls range picnic
Have you spotted the Funny Feet as zippers? :-)

All items are available online at Lakeland's website or possibly in store around the country, although get them while you can as I think Lakeland's stocks are running low!
What was your favourite ice cream as a child?

PS. This isn't a sponsored post - I just really like Lakeland's stuff (and also wish Zoom lollies were still around!)

Monday 29 July 2013

Baby Baby - The Second Time Parents Conundrum

I mentioned this morning that a couple of our friends had their second baby a few weeks ago - it was a little (or not so little) boucing baby boy weighing a hefty 10lb 11oz.
They've got a varied selection of relatives, parents and grandparents so we gave them a few weeks before visiting ourselves - which also meant I had time to think of something to get for them!
So what do you buy for the second baby?
With their first a few years ago we gave them a basket filled with goodies more suited to the newly knackered parents than to the baby, knowing they had plenty of hand-me-downs already from friends and siblings.
We included things like
biscuits and teabags (beacuse you always run out when people are popping round to see the baby)
a couple of cheap magazines (something to idly flick through at 3am)
local takeaway menus (beacuse you never have time to cook)
the Haynes baby manual (useful advice and also very funny)
earplugs (for the new father)
and lots and lots of other things.
Stupidly I didn't think to take a picture so can't remember everything that was in it.

Fot the second baby, we knew full well they already had hundreds of things left over from the first child so didn't want to get anything that would just add to the junk and not get used.
We were racking our brains for inspiration until I spotted these lovely tins in a gift shop in Bath.

Baby boxes for sale

After nipping in and handing over my pennies we decided on simply filling it with lots of things they'll be able to use, things which get over used, lost or damaged quickly so are always useful to have spares.

New baby box present contents

So we have...
Beautiful Boy Tin - £12 from Mayther Gift Shop in Bath
Blue Robot Facecloths x2 - 50p (in the sale)
Prima Baby Magazine - £2
Pampers Wipes Travel Pack x2 - £1 for 3 packs (couldn't fit the third pack in the box though!)
Johnsons Baby Shampoo - £1
Johnsons Baby Bedtime Bath - £1
Pets Pushchair/Buggy Book - £3
Large Bar of Galaxy - £1.50
Muslin Squares x3 - £3.50
Dalmations Bibs x2 - £2
Tigger Socks x3 - £3

New baby box present

Apart from the tin, everything else came from Asda - I know we probably could have got it cheaper but we kept putting off going out to the shops and then didn't have much time to look around.

We also put together a small present for the new big brother, he's 3 years old and a budding artist.
We didn't want him to feel left out so at the bottom of the box is a small present with his name on!

Coloring book and crayons present

What do you think?

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Visiting - my first ever library camp, an 'unconference' involving lots of sessions about books, social media, libraries and a rhymetime session! If you'd like to know more, I did a brief round up of the day here.

Library Camp SW

Studying - for my degree; if I'm going to attend my second librarian study school in September, I'd better get a move on and finish my last assignment!
(anyone want to write 2500 words for me?)

No picture for this one - the reality of journal articles, screwed up notes and a dent in the table from banging my head in frustration is far too boring to photograph.

Assembling - a present for a couple of our friends who had their second baby a few weeks ago. I think I set the bar far too high when they had their first - I put together a basket called the 'New Baby Survival Kit (for knackered first time parents)'.
So for the second baby, we were a bit stumped. In the end we've gone for a collection of things that'll all be useful, things which are consumable and won't clutter up the house. I know they've probably got everything they need, but hey ho, it's the thought that counts right?

What did you get up to at the weekend?

Sunday 28 July 2013

Library Camp South West - Books, Picnics and Rhymes cool am I?  Yesterday I went to my very first library camp
Yep that's a camp/conference all about libraries - and on a Saturday.

Library Camp 'welcome campers' sign
Without wanting to sound too much like some sort of a sad "shhush" librarian cliche, the day was pretty cool.

View of Bristol city centre
Beautiful view of Bristol from our camp

There's several library camps throughout the year and they happen all across the country based on what's called 'open space technology'. They're often called an 'unconference' where, basically the idea is anyone can go to the event, people who want to can pitch an idea for discussion and then workshops and groups take place where you choose what to attend. If you feel you're not getting anything from a talk, then just up sticks and find something else to join in with.

Library Camp pitching ideas

Library Camp pitches
Plenty of ideas pitched!

I did feel a bit of a fraud compared to everyone else as I'm sure I was the one of the only people there who didn't actually work in a library, but at least I could say I have worked in one, and I am studying towards a library degree. Everyone seemed really nice though and it was great to be in the company of lots of others who are all interested in the same things as you.

Library Camp itinerary
There were lots of workshops to choose from - the ones I attended were about eBooks, social media, designing your perfect library and a very heated debate about whether libraries are obsolete! (the consensus was possibly yes in a traditional sense, but no in an ever-changing new information centre/library sense)

Library Camp sessions

Library Camp sessions
What makes a perfect library?

Everyone had brought food for a picnic; my contribution was a Nigella Lawson's Store-Cupboard Chocolate Orange Cake (can't find the recipe on Nigella's website but several other bloggers have helpfully put it online). The cake seemed to go down well and we all sat outside for lunch in a nearby park while the squirrels tried stealing our food.

Library Camp food

Library Camp food

Library Camp picnic
Last activity of the day was a Rhymetime session - complete with floaty parachute, Nile the Crocodile and Five Little Ducks!

Library Camp rhymetime

Library Camp end of day round up
All in all, I think a good day was had by all, there were lots of views shared, lots of food eaten and lots of topics to explore!

P.S. This is one of my 32 Before 32 things!

Friday 26 July 2013

Here a Gromit, There a Gromit...

Warning - this post contains a lot of Gromits!
So my 'Gromit Unleashed' progress so far has taken me to all sorts of places across Bristol, including some locations I'd never been to before. There's 80 Gromits to find in total and so far I'm up to 41, with 39 still to find.
They've all been painted and decorated in different designs -  the problem is, there's so many of them and they're all so fab, it's hard to choose a favourite!
So instead, here's 36 of the Gromits we've found so far - in the form of a collage of Gromit faces!
If you're not a fan of the famous wise woofy, look away now...

Gromit faces
Sheepdog - The Green Gromit - Sir Gromit of Bristol
Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion - Salty Sea Dog - Vincent van Gromit
Sugar Plum - Tutan Gromit - The King

Gromit faces
A Close Shave - A Mandrill's Best Friend - aMazing Gromit
Blossom - Antique Rose - Bumble Boogie
Bark At E - Bushed - Butterfly

Gromit faces
Carosello - Dog Rose - Five A Day Dog
Doodles - Golden Gromit - Fish Tales
Gromitasaurus - Collarfull - Gromit Lightyear

Gromit faces
Groscar - Malago - It's Kraken, Gromit
Hero - Lancelot - Patch
Newshound - Grosmos - Poetry in Motion

And here are some of our faves...

Golden Gromit
Golden Gromit - he's simply fab, he's outside the Victoria Rooms in Bristol and is made of a mosaic of gold and silver squares which catch the sun and sparkle everywhere!

A Mandrill's Best Friend Gromit
A Mandrill's Best Friend - not hugely keen on this Gromit's design but I really like the way he's positioned just outside the entrance to Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Sir Gromit of Bristol Gromit
Sir Gromit of Bristol - another sparkly Gromit, he's found on the steps of St George's Hall and makes for a great picture with the entrance to hall behind.

Gromit Lightyear Gromit
Gromit Lightyear - there was a huge queue for this Gromit, he's in the Cabot Circus cinema and is designed by Pixar. I think Gromit is trying to emulate Laika!

Hero Gromit
Hero - it's superdog!

It's Kraken Gromit
It's Kraken, Gromit - I think this has to be my favourite so far, his collar looks like it's rusted metal with shells stuck all around it!

The Green Gromit
The Green Gromit - another one I'm not that keen on but I do love his backdrop!
All the posters have images on saying 'Have you seen this dog?' with the different Gromit designs.

The King (Elvis) Gromit
The King - it's Elvis Gromit!

Tutan Gromit
Tutan Gromit - I love his Egyptian design, although weren't Ancient Egyptians supposed to worship cats? :-)

Vincent van Gromit
Vincent van Gromit - look at his ear!

Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion Gromit
Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion - a homage to Bristol districts with great drawings all over him of some of the famous (and infamous) areas of Bristol. He's also got a really picturesque setting of Clifton Suspension Bridge in the background!

Salty Sea Dog Gromit
 Salty Sea Dog Gromit Tattoos
Salty Sea Dog - coming a close second to my favourite of It's Kraken, Gromit, it's pirate Gromit; complete with sailor jerry tattoos!
Carosello Gromit and Get Well Soon card
Carosello - unfortunately some idiots in Bristol decided to damage Carosello on his very first night out. So for a few days this 5ft high 'Get Well Soon' card was in his place until Carosello returned from his trip to the vets. Most of Bristol ended up signing the card!
More Gromits to come over the next month of so - you'll be fed up of them by September I'm sure!

Anyway, if there's any particular Gromit you'd like to see more pictures of, let me know. :-)


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