A Long Weekend In London

I had arranged to go to London to visit my eldest daughter who moved back there in March. She came home last summer after working abroad, but it was always her intention to go back down to London when she had saved up enough for a deposit. She had come home a couple of weeks ago as she went to look at bridesmaids dresses with her cousin who is getting married next year. Other than that I had not seen her since March, so I was really looking forward to seeing her and spending some time in London.

A Relaxing Train Journey

My husband normally drives us down to London, but on this occasion I thought it would be nice to travel by train. I booked the tickets in advance which is always much cheaper and you also book seats which means you are not going to end up standing all the way. The journey from Wakefield to London Kings Cross is only 2 hours and it was a really smooth, easy journey.

We arrived in Kings Cross at 3 and then took the underground to where our daughter lives on the outskirts of London. We had time for something to eat and a quick freshen up before we headed back out to the theatre

The Book Of Mormon

I absolutely love The Book Of Mormon. It is such clever writing and the songs are amazing. I have seen it once before, but my husband hasn’t. Once again the performances from everyone were amazing. The singing and acting is superb and the dancing is very slick. It’s a real mood lifter and has a good moral, despite the adult themes and very sensitive subject matter. I was so glad that I got to see it again and I certainly wasn’t disappointed the second time around.

After the theatre we walked in to Leicester Square to have a drink at one of the bars. It was still really warm and there were lots of people still around. We got a round of drinks and sat outside one of the bars. It was a lovely evening and it was great just people watching.

Pride In London

The following day was the Pride Parade in Central London . It’s something that I have wanted to see for quite a while, especially as my youngest daughter has been to the Leeds Pride over the last couple of years and has said what an amazing experience it is.

We travelled down to Trafalgar Square, where there was live music playing and we were able to sit on the steps and watch it on the big screen. Once we knew that the parade was approaching we walked down to the road. The parade was amazing, with all different walks of life represented. The crowd was huge (the news said the following day that there were 1.5 million people there!) It was great to see people dressed up, joining in the music and celebrations and cheering the parade on.

It had a real feel of celebration to it, but also a really serious message about tolerance, acceptance and understanding of other people’s lives. I have been fortunate to love and be in a relationship for many years with someone who is accepted by my friends, family, work, faith and society in general. I know that some of my friends are not so fortunate and that life can sometimes be really difficult for them. It would be an amazing world if people were free to love the people that they love, without being judged or condemned.

9 to 5

That evening we went to see another theatre production, 9 to 5. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I have to say that it was amazing. The singing was impressive as was the dancing. The story was really easy to follow and it was also very funny, but with a really topical theme of equality. One of the most impressive performances was by Bonnie Langford, who is so fit and flexible and such a strong performer, as well as being really funny. I was also impressed with Amber Davies, who had an amazing voice and was so much better than her “Love Island” persona. Again it was a really uplifting show and so enjoyable, leaving me feeling very upbeat and happy.

Red Bull Soapbox Race

On Sunday we travelled to Alexandra Palace to watch the Red Bull Soapbox Race. We have loved watching this as a family when it is on the TV and we have always said that it would be great to go and watch it live.

After a bit of a walk to the venue from the underground station, we arrived at Alexandra Palace. The day was amazing, really well organised, well set out and very entertaining. We managed to get a spot where we could see the start of the track where the teams do a short performance, we could see them coming down the track and then over the first water jump. We could then see the rest of the race on a big screen.

For anyone who does not know what the race is about, it is basically teams that build a structure on wheels and then push it down a big ramp, where it picks up speed and has to be steered through obstacles and over various jumps. Needless to say, some of them crash, some of them fall apart, but some of them do make it to the bottom in one piece. It was a great day and really amusing.

Heading Back Home

Om Monday, after a lovely breakfast it was time to head back home.  We got the train back to Wakefield and were home by the late afternoon. We quickly unpacked and put some washing in. I felt like I had had a really long weekend and packed so much in to it.  But by this point I had blisters on my feet and felt like I needed a rest before going back to work! Well worth it though

 

 

 

One Year On

Well it’s now a year since I wrote my first blog. I’m happy to say that I’ve really enjoyed it for the most part. There have been some weeks when I’ve struggled to know what to write, but that was meant to be part of the challenge, so that each week I would do something interesting enough to write about. So I hope I haven’t bored you too much.

I’ve decided to carry on writing my blog again this year, but just once a month, except of course if I go off on any interesting travels and I will keep you up to date with those.

A year in review

In the year that I was 50, did I achieve all the things that I wanted to do? Probably not, but the things that I didn’t achieve are still achievable this year and it was actually a really great year.

There were lots of celebrations, including my 50th birthday, my eldest daughter’s graduation, my youngest daughter’s 18th birthday and the birth of my niece’s first baby.

I walked lots of miles, I di lots of park runs, but didn’t manage my first 10k as I had intended, due to being unwell. Maybe I gave in a bit too easily after that and have not really kept up with my fitness,

I lost over 2 stone…..and then put most of it back on again.

I saw lots of shows at the theatre,. Some that I have seen many times before that I really love and some that I have not seen before, but I really enjoyed all of them.

I got to go on some amazing holidays in America, Spain and also some beautiful parts of England too.

I also set up my own business from my hobby, which is still a work in progress, but who knows how that will go

So all in all I think it’s been a pretty good year.

A year just begun

So what about this year. Well I haven’t made any resolutions, but as usual I plan to get fitter and lose weight as I always do. Other than that I just want to keep my life interesting and worthwhile. I want to work more on my business, but still keeping it small at the minute as I still have a full time job.

I have some travel plans already. Certainly different to last year, but hopefully just as interesting.

I will also set myself some challenges, probably another long distance walk and I will keep up with the park runs and Tingley run fit

An unusual start

So just to get you up to date, as I have missed my blag for a week or so. We had a great New Year’s Eve with my brother and his family coming round for a meal. We played games and quizzes and laughed till our ribs hurt.

Unfortunately New Year did not begin so well with the news of the death of my mum’s cousin. She was 98 years old and had had a great life. When we were children we would spend a lot of time with her and her husband and they took us to lots of different places. So a sad day, but a life well lived and she will be remembered fondly.

On 2nd January my dad was taken into hospital and over the following days other people in the family were struck down with a sickness bug, including me. I also contracted a severe case of conjunctivitis, which is slowly clearing up now but has not been much fun. I have to say a big thank you to my husband, my brother and his wife for doing all the running around once I was ill, as I’m not sure how my mum and dad and my girls would have managed without them.

So hopefully we’ve put the sickness behind us and can crack on with the New Year.

I guess considering the last week it has to get better!?

 

 

 

 

Feeling Blessed

At the time of writing this blog, I am patiently awaiting the arrival of my great nephew. He is due at the weekend, but I guess that it could be any day now, so the anticipation is growing. This is my niece’s first child and my brother and sister in law’s first grandchild. My niece’s partner already has a boy, who is definitely part of the family, but this is the first baby that we have had for a few years, which is always exciting.

Santa’s little helper

One of the reasons that I feel particularly blessed this week was because I got to see my eldest daughter in London. I had gone to London for a conference and luckily had some free time in the evening. She is currently working as one of Santa’s helpers (I’m not sure she’s an elf, as she’s quite tall), so I was able to go and see her at work. She seemed very happy, along with all the other little helpers.

As a bonus I also got to make a snowman and see Santa in his grotto. I may be a grown up, but there is still something very magical about Christmas, particularly seeing the little children’s faces light up at all the twinkling lights and snow scenes. I know that it’s probably still a bit early for Christmassy things (1st December is probably my limit), but sometimes you just have to take the opportunity that is handed to you.

 

 The Book of Mormon

Also whilst I was in London I finally got to see “The Book of Mormon”. Now I know that this is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is very inappropriate in places and some people may find it offensive, but I have been wanting to see it for ages. Luckily I got to go with my daughter and my friend from work.

I thought that it was hilariously funny. The singing and acting from all of the cast was amazing. It takes the mickey out of lots of different musicals along the way, as well as poking fun at religion. Although I think that for me, there was a moral to the tale, whether that was what was intended or not. I think the moral was that it doesn’t matter what religion you are, or what you believe in, but if you are giving people hope and help, then that is better than converting them to a religion that they don’t really understand and then walking away and leaving people in poverty and danger.

I would definitely see it again if I had the chance, but if you are easily offended, don’t like bad language or feel that religion is not meant to be humoured then I would give it a miss.

 

 

 

 

 

Old Friends and Fat Friends

Dealing with change

This week I went to a leaving “do” for a friend that I used to work with. I left the department almost two years ago, as it was time to move on and have a change in direction with my career. Since then it seems that a lot of my old friends and colleagues have also moved on. Some have moved to other departments, but this particular friend has moved on completely, leaving the job and starting a new career and a completely new direction.

It was lovely to catch up with old friends and colleagues during the course of the evening, but also quite emotional, as it was the end of an era, with the department that I worked in completely changing. The sad thing is that a lot of the staff who work there are very disillusioned and demoralised. It is such a shame as it used to be such a great place to work, with a brilliant team spirit. Hopefully as new staff move in, it will have a new lease of life and will become a great place to work again.

To all those that are leaving, I hope that they find a new challenge and a role that they love and are passionate about. I certainly feel that I have found that in my role, although it doesn’t stop me moaning and getting frustrated at time.

 

Fat Friends The Musical

This weekend me and my husband went to see Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends The Musical at Leeds Grand Theatre. I like Kay’s writing and have enjoyed the different series that have been on TV. I definitely liked the Fat Friends series as it was really funny and was so recognisable by anyone who has ever had a weight problem or attended a slimming club.

The show was really funny. It’s a long time since I heard my husband laugh out loud like that. The cast were really good, with some really strong singing and acting. It was nice to see local actors, particularly Neil Hurst, who we have seen many times in pantomime at Halifax. My only real issue with it was Freddie Flintoff. I know that having a celebrity sells tickets to a show, but there are loads and loads of young people out there who have studied drama or musical theatre that are desperate for work, that I fail to see why an ex cricketer who cant really act and definitely can’t sing, would be offered a role like this.

I know that I am biased as my daughter and many of her friends are seeking Musical Theatre work, but the same goes for pantomimes who have “famous” people in them, with current or former careers (or who are famous for being famous), rather than employing talented actors singer or dancers.

I am also a bit of a theatre snob and find it a bit annoying when someone famous comes on the stage and everyone cheers. Not particularly a problem in the Fat Friends production as it was very light hearted and a little “pantomimey”, but in a serious moment in a production when people screech and whistle, I find this irritating.

At least there was no one texting, facebooking or taking photos in the middle of the performance for a change, which is another pet hate of mine.

Shows and Showers

Life is a Cabaret

On Friday evening I went with a couple of friends to see Cabaret at Leeds Grand Theatre. I have only ever seen the film version before. My eldest daughter had seen the stage version a few years ago and had been really impressed by it, so I thought I’d give it a whirl (Mum, it was amazing… you have to see it!)

The production was excellent and I really enjoyed the show. All the performers were amazing, particularly Will Young and Louise Redknapp. The ensemble were pretty stunning too and showed off some impressive dance talent. I hadn’t told either of my friends anything about it, as I didn’t want to spoil it.

The first half is pretty crazy, set in Berlin, mainly centred around the Kit Kat Klub and its eccentric performers. It’s definitely not for those who are easily offended, but does a really good job at getting the point across.

One of my friends wasn’t really sure whether she liked it or not. However during the second half, the mood changes as the Nazis start to make their presence known, culminating in a pretty shocking ending (even though my daughter had told me about it, I wasn’t really prepared for how gobsmacked I would be).

All in all it was a great show. It wouldn’t be on my list of must see again, but I’m definitely glad that I went to see it. In this age where tolerance (or lack of it) is in the news all the time, it certainly makes you think about how we treat others who don’t necessarily fit in with our ideas of what is “normal” or acceptable.

 

On a lighter note

On Sunday I was invited to my niece’s baby shower. I’ve never been to a baby shower before. They weren’t really around when me and my friends had our babies. If I’m honest I wasn’t really sure what the purpose was, or what would be expected of me, whether I should buy a gift now or later, or both?!

My youngest daughter and I went along to the baby shower, armed with cup cakes with blue icing and appropriate “it’s a boy” toppers. I didn’t really want to take a present for the baby as I want to do this when he is born. I know this is probably an old fashioned view, but that’s just me. We did however take her a little present, just for her, rather than baby.

To be honest it was a really lovely afternoon. It was nice to see everyone and catch up and it was particularly good to see my lovely niece looking so well and clearly enjoying being pregnant.

On the way home my daughter said that it was probably the last time we would all be together for a while, as once she has the baby she won’t want everyone there at once (Sometimes she speaks a lot of sense). I guess that this is one of the purposes of the baby shower, a chance for us to be together, to celebrate her pregnancy and wish her well, rather than everyone turning up within a week of her having the baby, when she is just getting settled with her new family.

Now it’s just waiting and wishing her all the best and lots of love x

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