Socks and airplanes

It’s that time of year again, the socks are out and the flip flops are limping their way to that pit under my bed where things go to be stored.  They may make one more fleeting outing but the chances look slim.  The air is getting crispy, my bike saddle is covered with dew every morning (although rain is also a contender in that area) and the leaves are very much turning a nice shade of orange.

I cycle to work, as many do in Cambridge, and several times last week I was stunned by those spectacular mornings you only get at this time of year (or rather I’m not up early enough to witness it in the summer).  Part of my cycle takes me passed one of the commons by the river, the edge running along the road is lined with (sadly diseased) chestnut trees.  If you are lucky and the sun is just at the right height you can see spider webs sparkling between the branches with the sun glinting off the damp grass that is slowly appearing out of the morning mist.   I just wish I could remind myself how beautiful it is at 6am, so that I could get out and capture it with my camera before work!

It is also that time of year where you start making plans for Christmas, or certainly it is for me.  Having parents that live in different countries, and a 20 year old habit of alternating where you’ll be for Christmas and either just before/after Christmas, means that you have to think fast or else it turns into an even more expensive time of year!  Hopefully by the end of the week my itinerary will be sorted and my bookings made.  Then I can forget about Christmas for at least another month, or until I am unpleasantly reminded by adverts on TV or displays in shop windows, or heaven forbid, Christmas music…

So, until then mum’s the word.  As for me, on this chilly Autumn evening, I am going to make myself a hot drink and curl up with a book I am thoroughly enjoying.  It’s utter escapism, with knights and elves and words I am only guessing the pronunciation of.  I love it.

Tuesday 7th October 2014  20:47

Afternoon tea with the ladies

Yesterday my friends and I met up for afternoon tea, and what a civilised affair it was!  I made a Sticky Gingerbread, it’s my mum’s recipe that I had not had the courage to attempt baking until yesterday.  Luckily, it turned out just right and seemed to go down well with everyone.

Other contributions were: an amazing (show-stopper) Victoria sponge cake baked by our wonderful hostess, a Linze Torte (Austrian jam tart, quite possibly the oldest cake in the world), some Brazilian mini cheese muffins, vegan chocolate ganache and bread with cheese.  Not to forget the key ingredient, tea by the bucket load.

Some of the friends at the event are relatively new to my little circle of friends in Cambridge, it’s so nice when happy events (in this case a hen party and the subsequent wedding) help you meet lovely new people.

Long may such gatherings, revolving around good food and a natter, continue I say!

Sunday 28th September 17:15

P.S. Apologies for the quality of the photos, I must learn to use Photoshop (or rather the free similar programme I have downloaded) to edit the raw files when the lighting is not quite bright enough…

Back in the habit?

Hello one and all, or let’s face it at this point anyone who still deigns to occasionally look at this blog!

To say it has been a while is an understatement, true there have been occasional posts of photos lately, but I’ve not sat and written a blog post in goodness knows how long.  Even on the other blog I set up, the virtual tumble weeds have been a rolling.

Why the silence?  Well a multitude of reasons I guess.  I’ll try and catch you up if you’ll bear with me, it’s been a busy old year…

Not to sound all dramatic, but the year started with an ending.  And by that I mean a broken heart.  I think a lot of this year has been about finding myself again and fixing what was broken (or certainly investing in many tubes of superglue).  It was my first broken heart, and at the ripe old age of 31 (now alas upgraded to 32) you might say it was high time such a thing had happened.  As it was, I felt rather crippled at first, to try so hard and it still not work out; for someone that you love to not want you…  It’s a hard pill to swallow.  Luckily I have some amazing friends who have shown me incredible support and patience.  My family have also been there for me, as much as they could not being local.  I’m not saying I don’t think about him, but after 9 months I’m in a much better place than I was.

That necessary detail noted, let’s move on to happier tales!  The year has been busy, in particular the summer.  I’ve been trying to tick things off my bucket list and just get on and do things that I have thought of trying.  I’ve become a better cook, and have been running to counteract the side effects! 

In May I went on holiday to Taiwan with one of my besties.  It was a great trip, and I think we both needed to have an adventure again.  We travelled around the perimeter of the country, starting at Taipei, by train, bus and bicycle!  It’s an interesting country with friendly people and some gorgeous countryside.  It’s also cycling crazy, although they have rather larger and steeper hills than I am used to living in Cambridge…

In June, myself and the same friend, took part in a 10km obstacle course up near Nottingham.  It was called a Water Wipeout and involved mud, a stretch of swimming and climbing over things.  We camped in my friend’s tent which turned out to be better suited to people with more of a hobbit like stature.  However, it was a great weekend of laughing and tiredness.

In July we completed the London to Brighton night ride, cycling 65 miles over some nasty hills.  We started at Tower Bridge, London, at 11.50pm and made it to the seafront in Brighton just before 7am the next day; stops were made along the way!

It was also a summer of weddings.  Another bestie’s sister got married in July, after a hen party a few weeks before.  Then I attended another friend’s hen party, followed by a beautiful Cambridge based wedding.  My “jaw dropping” dance moves came in handy.  The wedding season ended with the grand finale of my brother marrying his wonderful wife; to say this was an special event for my family would be an understatement.  To see my brother so happy was worth the nerve racking reading I was asked to do during the ceremony in the cathedral! 

On top of all that, I have recently started trying my hand at that classic Cambridge sport of rowing.  It’s much more complicated than it looks, I shall be a work in progress for a while I think.  The hardest thing so far?  Trying to carry the damn boat to the water!

Anyway, that’s a very brief run through of what has been happening this year, and my way of apologising for being absent for so long.  I hope to have something interesting to report on before too long.

For now, I’d like to wish you a very happy weekend, time to be utterly British and catch up with The Great British Bake Off.

Friday 26th September 2014  21:02

Bees collecting pollen from flowers at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire.  August 2014.

Bees collecting pollen from flowers at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire.  August 2014.

Took this the other week, in front of my dad’s house there’s loads of lavender and I just love the stuff.  I love the colour, not to mention the smell.

Took this the other week, in front of my dad’s house there’s loads of lavender and I just love the stuff.  I love the colour, not to mention the smell.

Where would you love to travel to? Who are your heroes and why?

Sorry for the delay, been a tad rubbish lately!

Okay, so….  Where would I love to travel to?  Possibly easier to list where I would not like to travel to.  I would love to go to South America, especially Argentina to ride horses, learn Argentinian Tango and pick up some Spanish.  I’d love to see a sloth, walk in a real rainforest and see the ruins of ancient civilisations.  I’d also love to travel around more of Asia, see more monks and temples, feel the warmth of the sun and see the colours of their festivals.  I want to do a road trip across the US, stopping to eat at diners and see sights like the worlds biggest ball of yarn!  Hike through Canada’s national parks, glimpse a grizzly and marvel at orcas.  Meet native tribes and get to know the locals of the eastern states like New Foundland.  I want to spend a few months travelling Germany and Austria perfecting my German.  I want to take the Orient Express and go on an epic train journey.  I want to go so many places!

As for my heroes?  I need to spend some more time pondering this one, let me get back to you!

What activity or event makes you feel most alive?

This is going to sound really lame, but I’d have to say running.  I am an infrequent runner these days, but it always makes me feel terrific (after the initial heaving of the chest and redness have died down) and puts me in the best of moods (the one where you hum and dance whilst cooking dinner).  I am a complete wimp so rides at theme parks leave me terrified these days (that big drop one at Lotte World left me shaking).  So running, and travelling somewhere new (such as arriving in ROK which terrified me but will always be the highlight of my life).  How about you hollifina?  And amijang and mardibum come to think of it!

What did you study at the University? What makes you laugh uncontrollably?♥♥♥

I studied Wildlife Biology (this was renamed by friends several times to include the titles Monkey Studies and Poo studies - I spent a class on the identification of different faeces of wild animals).  It was a great course.  The Minions from Despicable me always make me laugh :)

The weekend cometh!

Wrote this this morning….

I don’t know about you, but I am one happy girl!  Today is FRIDAY, which means the weekend is peeking it’s beautiful head around the corner and beckoning me to join it.  You shouldn’t wish your life away, but I will be happy when 3.30pm comes today (I luckily finish an hour early on a Friday).

Do you have any fun plans for this weekend?  I am seeing a whole host of friends for dinners, lunches and catch ups.  I am also painting eggs with my housemate on Sunday!  And, I hope to do some catching up on my blog reading, feeling horribly out of the loop with everyone, not good.  So I’m thinking, breakfast in bed with my laptop tomorrow?

On a side note, I just have to sing the praises of my housemate.  Our living in this lovely house together, with our on and off live in landlord, has been a real surprise and blessing for me.  She is lovely and the perfect housemate for me right now.  Yesterday, when I had gone down into the kitchen before leaving for work feeling all tired and woe is me, she was a positive and motivational breath of fresh air.  Thanks to her I went for a run after work yesterday, and what a difference it made to how I felt!  Like an instant happy patch.  I was so happy the rest of the evening, after a blurgh day at work, and got loads done.  So, I just had to say a big thank you to the cosmos for putting us in the same house at the same time, she rocks.

Ooh, I watched a fab film last night!  OK, so it’s not a real, credible film, but I loved it.  It’s called “Stick it” and it’s about gymnastics.  My friend Anna and I are partners in crime when it comes to watching bad dance films together, so it may not surprise that I was loaned this film by her.  It was a feel good bit of cheese with some great gymnastics and a kick arse soundtrack (as in Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy).  I’ll find you a trailer…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAln2v-yDgc

Have a great day everyone. x

The internet affect

I love the internet, believe me I live on it most days, but I think it can really have a negative affect on a person if used in the wrong ways.

Of course, there’s that whole internet gaming fiasco, kids (and adults) getting addicted to games.  Gambling’s another issue.  Not to mention people with bad intentions.

But I mean something different.  Social media, Facebook, Twitter and, heaven forbid, even blogs can have a negative affect on a person.  I find myself perusing pages and looking at other peoples’ lives and comparing.  I sit here thinking “I wish I was there” or “why didn’t I do that”.  Heck, you can compare yourself to the world and their ancient techn-capable grandma if you want to.  Whatever you are good at, or think you have a flair for, given two minutes online, you can find 100 people better at it than you are.

Of course, the door swings both ways, you can choose to become demotivated or to be spurred on by the possibilities, inspired by some strangers idea.

Me?  Right now I’m of the former frame of mind.  But, maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to knock some sense into myself.