Thursday, 30 April 2015

A Few Days in Paradise

I've been to the Virgin Islands. I can't quite believe that this statement is true, and even when I was standing in the middle of this beautiful paradise, I wasn't really sure whether I was deserving of such beauty. It both took my breath away, and filled me with anxiety at the same time: surely a person like me shouldn't be in a place like this. But of course, I was there, and I really loved it. Here are some photos:

This was my first glimpse of the beauty, after a night of deep sleep. The colours and the textures made my eyes constantly want to look, as if hungry to digest everything that I could see.

Look at the palm trees and the blue skies!

Here I am, on the beach, excited and hot!

What a beautiful place. Oh my.

I was there for 4 days for my friend's wedding, and I'm so glad that I was invited. It's a place that I would never have dreamed of going to, and probably won't ever get the chance to go back. But I am so deeply thankful for the once in a lifetime opportunity of being there, to see with my own eyes that paradise like this really exists, and not just photoshopped in a magazine. This is a memory that will stay with me for a long time.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Board Game Night

My college friends and I have started meeting to play board games a lot. But this doesn't always include Ric and Rachel, our Guernsey based PMs. We had two great board game nights last year, which they missed out on, so while Ric and Rach were in Manchester, we jumped at the chance of making a night of it. I didn't take many photos, but I have these: 

I made a carrot, parsnip and walnut cake with lemon buttercream icing.

Here's me and Ric playing giant jenga that Lee got for Christmas.

And here is the compulsory game of Catan.

We also played Quirkle, Carcassonne, Dobble and The Ready Steady Cook game - we really went big with the board games! It was a great evening that had many points of laughter, so much so that my belly really hurt from the laughing! It was so much fun!

It was so lovely to see everyone last night, and just really enjoying one another's company. I particularly enjoyed the section of the evening where me and Ric were just pointing at each other and laughing. It was kind of amazing. Good food, good games, good people. I had an awesome evening. Thank you for being awesome oh Purple Monkeys! :) See you again soon, Ric and Rach! :)

Saturday, 18 April 2015

A World of Glass

My college friends and I continued adventuring today, after our little wander around Manchester. Our adventures took us to St Helen's to visit The World of Glass. Shazia and I have been wanting to visit for ages, and we were really pleased to get to go together!

Now, I have to say, there isn't as much made of glass here as you would imagine. There's a cafe by the canal, some galleries, a local history exhibition and an opportunity to see the original furnace and tunnels. It would be good school trip I reckon! There was a lot of interesting history to see, and we got to wear helmets, and see some glass blowing! I had a lot of fun - here are some photos:

This is the entrance to the World of Glass - it's an impressive tower.

This is a chandelier that the glassblowers on site made themselves! It's very pretty!

Here's the bridge across the canal to see the old furnace and tunnels. That's Lee and Shazia!

Here is me and Ric, with our hardhats getting ready for some tunneling.

Here is me and Lee having just been through the tunnels! It was really intricately made!

I had fun today, and the company really made it loads better. The World of Glass was interesting but it could have been so much more. I'm not sure how though. The glass blowing session was amazing (and the glass blowers were much younger than I expected, but super talented), and the tunnels were very cool. I reckon we had the most fun with the hard hats! Haha! I reckon the experience just needed more home blown glassware and the usual array of souvenirs like magnets - I think I just really wanted to buy something to complete the experience. But there you go! I learnt a lot and am definitely still a little bit in love with glass, and will continue to seek out pieces of glassware that I love! 

I had a great day with my awesome friends today, and part three will be tomorrow! Yaay! :)

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Pootle Around Portico Library

Did you know that there is a tiny but beautiful library on the top floor on the Bank Restaurant building on Mosley Street in central Manchester? Neither did I! It wasn't until my lovely college friends Lee and Ric said "go round the side and press the buzzer" did even know where the front door was! And it's a beautiful little place!

It's an old library, filled with super old books, and right in the middle of it, you can have a cup of tea in the grand surroundings. It had a lovely stained glass domed ceiling and books from floor to ceiling making the initial impression on entry, magnificent. With two wooden reception desks built in and manned, this place makes you feel like you've gone back in time and into a land when books were treasured.

I couldn't take many good photos because there was a little exhibition going on which blocked the view of some of the books, but here are a couple:

Here is one of the two clocks. It took me a little while to realise that this wasn't actually a clock. The arrow kept pointing at different directions so unless the building was spinning, I reckon that this monitored the wind. Who knows!

Here is the other clock. This is on the polite literature wall. I wonder what polite literature is!

And here we are outside the library. This is a funny photo :)

I didn't spend too much time with Lee and Ric today - we just happened to all be in Manchester at the same time so I thought I'd drop in and say hello. It was good to see them, and also triply exciting because I'll be seeing them tomorrow and Sunday too! Yaaay! More blogposts to come! :)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Sunny London

Now that my brother lives in Oxford, it's so much easier to visit both siblings when I come down south. So just a mere hour's drive took me from Oxford to London to see my sister and brother-in-law. While I waited for them to finish work, I wandered around Richmond for a while, enjoying the sun and learning new things about the country I live in. I didn't take many photos - I didn't feel like it today.

But of course no visit to London would be right without a photo of Bugsy. Little bunny, I'm making you famous!

Here is Bugsy, trying to nap in the sun. He didn't like me taking pictures of him.

I had a lovely evening with my sister - we went to some local running fields and had a picnic! We had all the usual picnic goods as well as chicken wings! Yaaay! :) It was nice hanging out with her - we don't do it much any more because we live so far away, but we steal a moment once in a while. It's also wonderful too because she's also pregnant and so I'm going to be an Auntie twice this year! Big announcement with pregnancy photos to come later on this year. So much joy in our family this year! Hoorah!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Status Upgrade: Auntie :)

I'm in Oxford visiting my brother and sister-in-law and am really pleased to make an official announcement: I'm going to be an Auntie. They are due at the end of May, and I'm totally ready to have this status upgrade! It was a beautiful day today, and so I wandered around Oxford until the pair finished work. We decided to go for a walk and took some photos:

Selfie with the parents and bump! Yaaay! :) So exciting!

One of the best photos of the day! Yaay! :) May have to do a little work on the pics so you don't see the watch reflections in the light, but I'll have to do it another day.

This is a nice picture! Weeee! :)

There were loads more pics too, but I've decided to share these with you for now. I'm so excited to have a little person to play with soon, and I'm really happy for both these new parents. Congratulations, Clem and Fiona - I look forward to meeting Baby Law in May! :)

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Nature Day with Nina and Hannah

Hannah and Nina came to play today. Since it was their Easter holidays, we set up an egg hunt for them. I bought everything and then let Dad do all the egg filling and hiding - here's a collage of the hunt:

After lunch, we went on some serious adventures. It was a lovely day outside today, so we spent the afternoon exploring nature:

First we went to the river to find treasures. We had fun looking for pretty rocks and old pottery.

Then we went to the park to climb trees. My dad decided to give it a go too!

Then we built a den in the woods. This is the camping house, complete with table, fire and door.

I didn't take nearly as many photos today as I wanted to, but I really enjoyed interacting with Hannah and Nina today. Although we went to the same park that we did last time, and the time before, they have expanded their play needs beyond the fixed play equipment, finding excitement in the natural spaces of the park. I'm really excited to be part of this, and hope that I get to be part of this again :) Thanks for coming to play again, Nina and Hannah!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Sunshine for Lunch

It is always a surprise to me when I find Manchester bathed in glorious sunshine. It just doesn't happen very often, and when it does, it's absolutely lovely.

My parents asked me to give them a lift to a local nature park today, and I jumped at the opportunity to be outside. So I cobbled together an impromptu picnic, bundled my parents in the car and had lunch outside:

A sandwich, a chocolate bar and a flask of hot water by the water. Yes!

A disapproving geese. They're all pretty disapproving really. I like the pic though,

There were loads of birds doing somersaults in the sky - here is a pic of one of them. They were a joy to watch.

I really enjoyed my time outside today - got lots of work done as a result and really made me smile. I'm so glad I have a job where I can be flexible with the hour and the location at which I do my work! Hoorah! 

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Magic of Blue

Remember when I first explained my love for sea glass? Since then, I have been on the hunt for a piece of blue, and have been disappointed in the USA and Australia! But today, today is a glorious day. Today, is the day I found my first piece of blue.

Look at how pretty that is! It is perfect, and it's all mine. I'm absolutely chuffed to bits with this.

Strictly speaking, this isn't sea glass. It has all the look and finish of sea glass, but I actually found it by the river that runs near my house. So I suppose, technically, this is river glass. I also found a whole bunch of other different coloured glass as well as lots of old, smooth, pottery pieces. And the lovely thing about the area is that it's quiet and peaceful (apart from some angry looking geese) so I have the whole place to myself to look for my own little pieces of joy. 

Yaaay for blue "sea" glass, and yaay for unexplored places of treasure! :)

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Wanderings at Easter

The weather was absolutely beautiful today so I felt compelled to go outside and do a little exploring. Here's some pics I took on my little adventure:

This is Turton Tower. I found it by accident but it's so pretty! I had a wander around the grounds and admired all the tall trees they have there.

I'm so pleased to be outside, in the sun!

I found a bridge that had turrets on it. On the descriptions, it's called a "Castellated Bridge"

I stood on the train tracks for a bit. It was so quiet, I didn't believe that they would be in use.

I drove up high and took a photo of the sky. Lovely and blue today.

It was lovely to be outside with the daffodils, and to spend a little time thinking about Easter. It was especially nice after a lovely service at church this morning, where we decorated a wooden cross with flowers. It was great to see the church so lively and full, and also to be reminded of the great sacrifice that Jesus made for me.

I spent most of the day on my own today - a rare occurrance that I quite liked. I can enjoy myself no matter who I'm with, and hopefully people have fun when they're with me too. It's another Bank Holiday in the UK tomorrow, and eventhough it's not really different for me (where every day is kind of the same), it is for everyone else so I might even get to visit some fairs and shows. We'll have to see what the day brings! Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Out in the Misty Moors

I had a rare opportunity to hang out with my lovely friend Nancy today, and we decided to go for a walk in the moors. It was drizzly and cold, but we put on our backpacks and waterproofs, and went on an adventure!

We found some old ruins, and explored the buildings a little.

There were lots of little streams that made the landscape really pretty.

We found a tree stump that was filled with coins. It looked really cool.

Here are some horses that we saw. They wandered around one of the fields we were walking through and tried to eat our lunch.

On the way home, a cloud landed on the ground, and this was the view. Haha.

We got back to the car tired but satisfied from a day outside. We picnicked and chatted, and laughed and didn't fall over over once, hoorah! :) On the drive home, Nancy and I also worked out that we've almost known eachother for 20 years! That's 20 years of craziness between Nancy and me. That's a long time, and it's going down as a proud achievement in my life. 

It's been a really great day out with Nancy - looking forward to the next adventure!