Saturday 30 November 2013

November Happiness

Five things which have made me smile this month...
1. Spotting these little birdies in Homebase the other day. They were just begging chirping to be taken home but Andrew put his foot down and said no more birds and ducks in the house. I think I'm going to wait til Janurary though and see if they're reduced in the sale!
Bird Christmas Decorations at Homebase
2. A fabulous first night performance of Bristol Old Vic's 2013 Christmas show, The Little Mermaid.
Bristol Old Vic The Little Mermaid
3. Taking Omnibear to see the Carnival floats and the fireworks. I think he had a good time!
Omnibear at the Fireworks
4. Completing Rosalilium's 'blog every day in November' challenge.
Blog Every Day in November
5. Sharing my lunch break at work one day with this little fellow!
Mallard Duck at University of Bath
What little things have made you happy this month?

Day 30 - The End

Day 30 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
The End
(Blog Every Day in November is over! *sad face* How was it for you? Best bits? Any final words? Anything you've been dying to write about but didn't fit it in? Today is a free for all to go out with a bang!)

 This is called going out with a bang...

So every day in November is over (I mean yay that we've all completed it, not of course, yay that it's all finished)

This is going to sound a bit like the last post of 'blog every day in May' but once again, I've discovered some lovely new blogs to follow, enjoyed reading some of my old favourites every day and also quite liked the challenge of thinking up something different (and hopefully interesting) for each prompt.

I was planning to go back to blogging three or four times a week but looking at my calendar for December it seems that I might just be posting something every day in December as well!

I'm planning to take part on Instagram with Share Advent (more to come on that tomorrow) and then I'll do a round up post every few days plus Bonjour Blogger have another (Christmassy) Comments Challenge which I'm going to try and do but I'm not sure I'll have time to post a round up each day.

The main reason being, although I love doing blogging challenges, the one thing that gets a bit neglected is the coursework for my degree - and I need to have written a review and an essay by mid January.
Anyone fancy researching folksonomies and user-based tagging for me?

Friday 29 November 2013

The Little Mermaid at Bristol Old Vic

Thursday night saw the first public performance (a preview) of Bristol Old Vic's 2013 Christmas show, The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid, Bristol Old Vic
I've kind of got a fondness for the Bristol Old Vic anyway, it's such a lovely historical theatre, my favourite theatre company (Kneehigh Theatre) regularly play there and one of my favourite actors (Tristan Sturrock) is an associate artist. I've been to see the last 4 years worth of shows - Peter Pan, Coram Boy, Swallows and Amazons and Hansel and Gretel - and this year was the turn of Hans Christian Andersen's fishy tale.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Having felt ill that morning and had a day off work, I made sure to take some tablets for the evening as I really didn't want to miss the show. We arrived 15 minutes before the start and found our seats, in the front row of the Upper Circle. The Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic, Tom Morris popped on stage to explain that it was a preview and that there was a possibility that things could go wrong (thankfully nothing major did!) and then the story began.
The Little Mermaid, Bristol Old Vic
Most people probably know the Disney version of The Little Mermaid but not many people remember the story originally came from Hans Christian Andersen. I'd certainly forgotten it was him who wrote it! I'm not going to go through what the story is (as I'm sure you all know it anyway) but the way it was done on stage was fab and put a fresh modern twist on the tale. Interestingly one of the musical directors is beatboxing ace, Shlomo and you could hear bits of his influence throughout the show.
I loved the set, sometimes it was really simple (the scenes under the ocean swimming) and sometimes it was quite complicated - the way they depicted The Little Mermaid swimming up to the surface was pretty magical.
Like most of the audience, we were all waiting to see how they were going to make The Little Mermaid swim and what they did in the end was quite clever; simple but effective - she was made to swim using other members of the cast with her fishtail wrapped round her. There were a couple of 'clunky' moments with the tail but it was a preview after all.
The whole cast were great with stand out performances from all four main characters: Beverly Rudd as the Sea Witch hammed up the role of pantomime villain perfectly with plenty of boos throughout the show, Billy Howle portrayed a lovable but bumbling prince, Tristan Sturrock as The Little Mermaid's Dad and MC of the singing competition was fab (as he usually is anyway) and top performance of the evening has to go to Katie Moore as The Little Mermaid herself - she certainly has a voice!
I don't know whether there's any tickets left or not, but if there is and you're in the Bristol area, it's on til 18th Janurary and I'd definitely recommend it - it's a fab Christmas show!
The Little Mermaid, Bristol Old Vic
 Source: Bristol Old Vic
Well done Bristol Old Vic!

P.S. We followed up a great time at the show with some very tasty huge bagels from Bagel Boy in St Nicholas Street, Bristol (thanks Lily Doughball for the recommendation!). I had a 'Naughty Boy' bagel - delicious chicken, bacon, cheese, coleslaw and BBQ sauce. They're also open late so if you're a bit peckish after being at the theatre, best scoot round the corner to Bagel Boy!
Bagel Boy Bristol

Day 29 - All I Want For Christmas

Day 29 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
All I Want For Christmas
(What do you want for Christmas this year? Go on, get us in the mood!)

Am I able to ask for more hours in the day?

Well then, I'll just have to settle on exciting things like a cheese grater, a magazine subscription and a camera bag. Yes, I don't know about anyone else but I've found that the older you get, the more boring your Christmas list becomes. You end up 'saving' things you want so that you don't have to spend the money and you can ask someone else to buy them for you for Christmas.

I toyed with the idea of writing about a fantasy Christmas wishlist but the truth is that even if I had lots and lots of money, the sort of things I want aren't tremendously expensive.

Christmas wishlist

Tickets for a swim at the Clifton Lido in Bristol - I love the architecture and history of the place, plus it's an outdoor swimming pool!

Some kind of digital camcorder - I bought my first camcorder when I was 16 (it took me 2 and half years of saving my pennies) but it's quite old now and I haven't used it for several years, so a digital camcorder would be lovely.

Tickets for Matilda the Musical in London - I saw the show last year for my 30th birthday; it's an absolutely amazing show and I would dearly love to see it again.

What would you like for Christmas?

Day 28 - The Great Outdoors

Day 28 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
The Great Outdoors
(Get outside and share it with us!)

So another belated #BEDN post, this time because yesterday morning I was struck down with the dreaded lurgy - full of stinking cold and a throbbing headache. It probably sounds sad but I hate taking days off work; yesterday though Andrew put his foot down and said I was in no fit state to go in and left me at home! Probably for the best though as I took some Neurofen and went back to bed waking up at lunchtime feeling not 100% but certainly much better than earlier that morning.

So as it happens, I didn't 'get outside and share it' as the prompt says (and I'm guessing a few pictures of a duvet, tablets and a hot water bottle won't really cut it...) but I do have a couple of pretty photos, a few links to posts I've written about the outdoors and a book recommendation if that'd do?

Bristol Harbourside
 Bristol Harbourside at night

Clifton Gorge, Bristol
 Clifton Gorge, Bristol

There's a few posts I've written about our travels around the great outdoors...

Day 22 - Leaving on a Jet Plane (our two week camping roadtrip round Scotland)
Autumnal Pleasure at Sydney Gardens (beautiful autumn colours in Bath)
How Does Your Garden Grow (garden flowers)
Beside the Seaside, Beside the Sea... (a trip to Weymouth Beach)
A Paddle in the Sea at West Bay (a trip to West Bay, Dorset)
A Picnic at Ebbor Gorge Viewpoint (our favourite local place for a picnic)
The Camel Trail - Padstow to Wadebridge (a walk along Cornwall's Camel Trail)
Across the Cliffs in Cornwall - Wheal Coates Mine to Chapel Porth (a walk along the cliffs)
Steaming Along the Two Tunnels Project (a new cyclepath in Bath)

And a fab book to read?

Wild Guide Book by Daniel Start

I've had Daniel Start's Wild Swimming book for several years now and back in the summer he published a new book - 'Wild Guide' - as the tagline says, all about hidden places and great adventures in South West England. It's really well organised and arranged split into the four counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset with sections featuring top tips for things like secret coves, night walks and wild camping.

We went to a talk back in July by the author at Toppings Bookshop in Bath and it was fab to hear that quite a few places we knew about are included in the book - we felt very smug!

Wild Guide Talk at Topping Bookshop, Bath
So that's my recommended book - great for finding wild and secret places in South West England's great outdoors.
Is there anywhere else in the UK you'd recommend for getting out into the 'great outdoors'?

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Happy Birthday Library!

I received a lovely invitation the other week - come and celebrate the 30th birthday of our local library. It's where I spent 5 and half years working as a library assistant and they'd invited lots of ex-members of staff and lots of regular users of the library. Me and Andrew went along for the celebration at 11am on Saturday 23rd November - exactly the same date the building opened in 1983.
Midsomer Norton Library 30th Birthday Celebrations
Midsomer Norton Library 30th Birthday Celebrations
Midsomer Norton Library 30th Birthday Celebrations
They'd put up a small display all about the history of the library complete with old pictures; a few of them even contained some of the girls I used to work with (looking much younger of course). A couple of local dignataries (the mayor and I think, the head of the local council) did speeches and there was a delicious cake handed round to all of us there.
Midsomer Norton Library 30th Birthday Celebrations
Midsomer Norton Library 30th Birthday Celebrations
Midsomer Norton Library 30th Birthday Celebrations
Midsomer Norton Library 30th Birthday Celebrations
It was lovely to go back to my old workplace and see friendly faces; it's been two years since I left and I really don't get into our local library as often as I should (being busy at weekends and not getting home from work til late puts paid to visiting the library). A couple of members of the public came up to me and said how nice it was to see me again - one darling elderly lady even said she misses me at the library! I was really touched; when I left there to move to my current job, I wasn't sure if any of the members of the public would notice but it seems a few of them did.
We ended up spending about an hour and a half there chatting to everyone, eating more biscuits and cake than we should have and taking out an armful of books which look fab, but I'm not sure when I'm going to have the time to read!
Library Books
Library Books
Library Books
Do you use your local library?

The Midweek Hop - Yes! (Day 27 - Yes Moments)

Day 27 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
Yes Moments
(Yes moments are those tiny moments when life has complete clarity, meaning or certainty. Yes moments can be life-changing or life-affirming. Yes moments are about celebrating the little daily victories. Yes moments are about recognising just how far you've come. Tell us what Yes moments mean to you.)

The other half's guest post - three music videos on a theme...
(inspired by Desmond Carrington's 'The Music Goes Round')
 'Wurlitzer 1500' 1952 Jukebox
 'Wurlitzer 1500' 1952 Jukebox
This weeks theme is...Yes!
Inspired by today's #BEDN prompt all about Yes moments.

1. Yeh Yeh by Georgie Fame

Try saying Yeh to something today and who knows where it may take you! 
'Yeh Yeh' entered the chart on 17th December 1964 reaching Number 1.

2. Yes Tonight Josephine by Johnnie Ray

Napoleon might have said No, but Johnnie Ray had no hesitation in saying yes...
'Yes Tonight Josephine' entered the chart on 10th May 1957 reaching Number 1.

3. Yep by Duane Eddy and the Rebels

Just say Yep to the guitar man...
'Yep' entered the chart on 24th July 1959 reaching Number 17.
Happy listening!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Day 26 - Home Sweet Home

Day 26 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
Home Sweet Home
(Share a tour of your home? Or maybe you have some decorating and DIY plans? What is your favourite room? How do you make a home feel homey?)

We're almost at the end of redecorating one of the bedrooms in our house at the moment. The majority of the messy work has been done - demolishing, rebuilding, sanding, plastering, wallpapering and fitting skirting boards and coving. We're just left now with painting the walls, finding some carpet, cleaning the room and then furnishing and putting it back together.

We've gone for a blue, green and cream theme and the plan is that one day (maybe) it might just become a nursery so we're going to store some books and children's toys in there on bookshelves and chests.

We had hoped to get the room completely finished by the time today's #BEDN's Home Sweet Home prompt rolled around and then I could have done a really good post about the refurb from start to finish. Instead you're going to get a half a story and then I'll do a proper room tour when it's all looking lovely.
(I *might* even venture into a bit of vlogging...).

Apologies for the terrible light in the pics though - the wallpaper looks yellow in places and it really isn't!

Boiler Cupboard Demolition
The old boiler cupboard being demolished, replastered and then wallpapered nicely.

New boiler cupboard
New boiler cupboard!

First bit of wallpaper going up...

Underneath the birdie wallpaper we've written our names and dates on the wall for future generations to ponder over :-)
The textured wallpaper we've chosen for the rest of the room - we've nicknamed it the Rapunzel Room!

The chinmey breast before and after - from dull purple to colorful feathered friends!

Monday 25 November 2013

Day 25 - Til Xmas

Day 25 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
Til Xmas
(Only 1 month until Christmas. Favourite Christmas traditions? Or favourite Christmas presents? Favourite Christmas songs? The best bit of Christmas is? What are you planning this year?)

I mentioned in my post on Day 14 all about where I work that we're kind of a bit obsessed with Christmas in our office. Well, I say "we", but really my friend M is a complete Christmas-a-holic, my boss acts like Scrooge to wind her up (but secretly loves it all) and everyone else enjoys playing along with all the festivites.

In my role as Official Office Cake Baker, it also seems to encompass arranging the Official Office Christmas Fun and Games.

Bath Christmas Lights
So we have (drum roll please)...

Secret Santa
My friend M has organised the Secret Santa with Santa arriving early on the 9th December to empty his sack. It always ends up not being much of a secret though - as fast as the names are being picked out of the hat, me and M have a spreadsheet set up to deduce who everyone has by the big day.
We're not doing too well this year though, there's 13 participants and we've only worked out 5!

The Grand Office Christmas Quiz
After the Secret Santa we all decided we'd have an office quiz so I've donned the role of quizmaster and put together a general knowledge quiz with 100 questions. It's going to be a team effort and I've made sure there's at least one question for everyone's specialist subject (including obscure things such as 'the cities of Eastern European countries'). There'll be a big prize for the winning team, a wooden spoon prize for the losing team and a booby prize for the team with the silliest answer.

Charity Christmas Jumper Day
This year we're taking part in Save the Children's Charity Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 13th December (also my birthday!). It's the last day of teaching for our students so everyone will be in a merry mood; we're all going to wear silly Christmas outfits and try and flog some festive cakes to the kiddiwinks before they all go home.

Festive Pass The Parcel
My friend M's idea; we have one week where the students have left but we're still at work so we're going to fill one morning with Pass the Parcel. There'll be 37 layers to unwrap (all with sweets) - 12 jokes, 12 fun facts, 12 forfeits and 1 final big prize. All the layers and notes will be Christmas themed (and not, as one lecturer asked us - "will that be naughty pass the parcel?")

Christmas Coin Hunt
Again, my friend M's idea; I'm going to hide all sorts of chocolate goodies around the office one evening, then email everyone and the next morning, watch the riot erupt!
We had an Easter Egg Hunt earlier this year and apparently at 8.30am in the morning when people started to arrive at work, it was mayhem with a couple of staff running round screaming "I found one, I found one!"
I don't think anyone did any work that morning!
The Christmas Coin Hunt may well end up the same way...

How do you celebrate Christmas in your workplace?

This Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...
Celebrating - the 30th birthday of our local library. It's where I was a library assistant for 5 and half years and I was invited back for the birthday shenanigans (all very sedate, of course).
There was cake, tea and books - perfect!
Library Birthday
Enjoying - the first Saturday night we've had at home doing nothing since the end of April!
Watching - a performance of Rent in Concert at the Bristol Hippodrome. I first saw the musical 15 years ago in 1998 and since then have seen it 16 times (and on two continents). I've seen quite a few different musicals but Rent is my absolute favourite.
Rent Concert Poster
Baking - a chocolate Ferrero Roche cake for my lovely friend M's birthday. I did the baking and Andrew did the plastering decorating.

Decorating a chocolate cake
Wrapping - M's birthday present, my blogger book swap package and my bloggers secret santa package.
Birthday presents

What did you get up to at the weekend?

Sunday 24 November 2013

Day 24 - Motivations

Day 24 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
(What drives you? What gets you up in the morning? Or share your top tips for getting motivated? Or maybe you've found some great tools to stay motivated?)

This is a hard one - the truth is I don't actually know the answers to any of the questions in the prompt.

(although to be completely literal, what drives me is a Citroen C3 (or to be even more precise, Andrew) and what gets me up in the morning is an ancient alarm clock radio set on Radio 2)

Alarm Clock and a Cup of Tea

I've never felt as if I've lacked or even actually had motivation - I do a lot of things and I like keeping busy so I suppose that keeps me motivated (although I don't think of it like that).

What I'm trying to say (in a very rambly way) is it's just life that keeps me motivated.
Visiting new places, learning new skills, meeting different people, planning things, creating and making, writing and studying, travelling - they all keep me interested in just being alive.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Day 23 - Date Night

Day 23 of Rosalilium's blog every day in November challenge
Date Night
(If you could take your favorite person on the perfect date where would it be? What would you do? What would you eat? What would you wear? How do you like to romance? Is romance even a thing for you?)

Me and Andrew have been married for coming up to 7 years next April and we've known each other 9 years so it seems a bit strange thinking about a 'date night'.

When we first met each other we had lots of meals out, went to the cinema occasionally and did quite a few day trips. We don't do things like that quite so often any more but the one thing we do quite regularly is go and watch a stand up comedian. It's a hobby we both share and luckily we both like the same styles of comedy.

Adam Hills Happyism Tour Posters
The last comedian we went to see - he was fab (and read out my tweet on stage!)

I tried to put together a list of all the comedians we've seen but I didn't quite realise until I started, how many this would actually total up to! (and even then I'm sure I haven't remembered them all).

In the past we've seen...
Seann Walsh, Josh Widdicombe, Marcus Brigstocke, Andrew Maxwell, Lucy Porter, Shappi Khorsandi, Rich Hall, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Imran Yusaf, Russell Howard, Russell Kane, Eddie Izzard, Michael McIntyre, Dara O'Briain, Andy Parsons, Adam Hills, Chris Ramsey, Susan Calman, Danny Bhoy, Tom Stade, Ed Byrne, Mark Watson, Jon Richardson, Alex Horne, Josie Long, Holly Walsh, Miles Jupp, Robin Ince, Tim Minchin, Mark Thomas, Andrew Lawrence, Frisky and Mannish, Chris Addison, Micky Flanagan, Greg Davies, Wil Hodgson, Rob Beckett, Howard Read, Pappy's, Jarred Christmas and Phill Jupitus.

We always try and see comedians in smaller venues if possible and we've throughly enjoyed every person listed above (with the exception of two, who I'm not going to name, I'll leave you guessing...)

So our perfect date would be sharing a bag of fish and chips, seeing some comedy, laughing a lot and giggling all the way home!

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