Thursday, 23 August 2012

Olympic Holiday- Day 2

On day two of our holiday it was time to go and see our first Olympic event.  The beach volleyball tickets advised that we arrive at the venue 90 minutes before the start time.  Seeing as the start time was 9am I refused to believe that we needed to be there from half 7.  There had been warnings in the news of airport style security causing gigantic queue, which, I could well believe for the Olympic Stadium but not for the Beach Volleyball.  So we rocked up at 8am and by 10 past we’d already got inside the venue. 

The arena itself was quite impressive.  I’m not sure I’d thought it would be quite so big.  From the outside it looked like a huge amount of scaffolding however once we got to the section we were sitting in it, it seemed huge. We sat ourselves down in row 37 as was indicated on our tickets. I’d been afraid that the English weather would let us down once again, however, this time it surprised me. I was even starting to think we should have bought some sun-cream!
Panoramic View of the Stadium

As more people arrived to fill up the seats near us it seemed there was some sort of dispute over the row numbering.  This didn’t seem too much of problem though and people seemed to be sorting it out amongst themselves….. until the over keen volunteer showed up.  She was on a mission to make sure everyone was in the correct seat.  Unfortunately it seemed that we were all sat in the row behind the one we should have been in.  At first she wanted to get us all out and then resit us down, however, there would have been nowhere for us to stand whilst she did this so she seemed to give up.  But then, she came back for a second attempt.  She got everyone to clamber over the seats in front and so by halfway through we were actually in the right seats.

We were up near the back in the cheaper seats that were all full.  It was disappointing to see that a lot of the more expensive seats remained empty.  However with my long zoom lens I still managed to get some good photos of the action…

Germany in action

In the afternoon we went to the Natural History Museum as Lea has a fascination with dinosaurs.  We spent a good few hours there looking round all the exhibits.

I only found out a couple of months ago that Lea has some sort of morbid fear of whales, due to their size.  I had to practically drag her into the part where there was a life size model of a whale.

The big scary whale!

That evening we met up with one of my old school friends who has recently moved to London.  She suggested that we go for a curry on Brick Lane.  We got to the first restaurant on the strip and were talked into the door by the owner.  The restaurant was fairly busy and they had a banner up saying they had won some award.  He also offered us a free bottle of wine which was enough to win us over!  The food was extremely nice, I had some sort of selection dish-

My Brick Lane Curry
However, if you ever go to Brick Lane my advice to you would be-it certainly is the place to go if you're in London and you fancy a curry but shop around and don't get sucked in by the first restaurant.  It seems every single place has a banner up saying they've won some prestigious award.  I was surprised we didn't happen upon a banner printing shop because they would be doing a roaring trade!   

Alex x

Friday, 17 August 2012

Olympic Holiday- Day 1

I’d been looking forward to the Olympics since they made the announcement 7 years ago that they were to be held in London in 2012.  Back then I was convinced that I’d be able to get as many tickets as I wanted-  however I came to realise this would not be the case.  I luckily managed to get tickets to the beach volleyball and sailing so I thought we should make a holiday out of it! Normally I wouldn’t dream of taking a two week holiday in the UK, due to the unpredictable weather. However, the London Olympics won’t happen again in my lifetime. Lea was convinced that this holiday wasn’t for her, she wouldn’t really enjoy it and she was just coming because I wanted her to so I was on a mission to prove her wrong.  It was also to be our first holiday together!

We took the train down to London on the 27th July.  I’d managed to book a Travelodge right in the centre of Covent Garden for a reasonable price and, even if the hotel left a lot be desired, the location was absolutely perfect.  We had nothing planned for that night except to find a pub to watch the Opening Ceremony in.  So eager to get out of the hotel and start our holiday we had a wonder down to Leicester Square and spotted a Chinese place where we thought we’d get some dinner.  After having our food plated up from a fast food like counter, we were sheparded downstairs to where there was some free seating.  Downstairs turned out to be a windowless basement that could have been used as a set for a horror film, however, the quality and quantity of the food made up for it!

Lea with her Chinese (I'm sure she won't be thanking me for putting this picture up!)
Even though the opening ceremony didn’t start until 9 we thought it was best to go and find a pub and get some seats with a good view, so we made our way to a nice looking pub we’d passed earlier.  We went to the bar and ordered a bottle of wine to get us going.  I then turned around to look for somewhere to sit, but to my horror ALL of the tables were reserved.  I checked the barman if they were any available tables and he said there may be some downstairs.  So we went downstairs only to find ALL of the tables down there were also reserved.  Lea spotted a woman with a clipboard and went to ask her if there was anywhere to sit seeing as we’d already bought drinks.  It turned out she’d asked at exactly the right time as some people hadn’t turned up to their reservation upstairs so she showed us to the table.  It only went and turned out to be right in front of the TV and the absolute best seats in the place. 

In the Long Acre Pub
The pub kept getting busier and busier.  Once the ceremony had started there were people crammed in the doorway, craning their necks to see the TV, and even people standing outside watching through the window.  The atmosphere was electric.  We both thought the ceremony was a hit.  Danny Boyle had done the UK proud.  I loved Rowan Atkinson’s bit, and as for the Queen parachuting, well that was hilarious.
On our drunken way home we stopped to take some photos…..

It had been the best start to holiday, and I think I was beginning to convince Lea that our Olympics was going to be fun. 

Alex x

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Rabbit Update

I’ve been absent from blogger for almost 3 months now, for which I have absolutely no excuse.  It’s not that I’ve had a lack of things to write about or even no time to write.  I’ve been meaning to post about this and that and just haven’t got round to it.  But I’m going to try and be a better blogger now…..we’ll see how long this lasts!!

So, lot’s has happened.  We moved house, bought two new rabbits (one unfortunately died a few weeks after we’d got her L), went on holiday, saw the Olympics and got one more year older.  I feel like I couldn’t possibly write about all of these important events in one post so I’ll take one at a time. 
Let’s start with the rabbits.  We bought Bonnie about three months ago now.  As usual we’d gone to the pet shop to buy rabbit food and gone to have a quick peek at the rabbits for sale.  Once I’d set eyes on her there was no way I was going to leave without her.

While we’ve been away on holiday, Lea’s best friend Megan has been looking after her, and it seems while Bonnie has been staying with Megan she’d decided to take up blogging herself. To see Bonnie's blog posts click on the links below:

Then about two months ago Lea did exactly the same thing as I did when I fell for Bonnie.  She couldn’t leave the pet shop without little Sooty.  Unfortunately we thing when we bought Sooty she was already ill.                            She had three happy weeks with us until she passed away.  
R.I.P. Sooty. 

Alex x

Monday, 21 May 2012

Horrible Bosses

I thought this film was hilarious and I just got to thinking…. I wonder if bosses like this actually exist.  I mean I have plenty of complaints about mine but in the grand scheme of things they aren’t that bad.  My boss situation is as follows:

There are only five of us in the office- two others (with the same job as me), our boss, and the owner.  The boss and the owner are in a relationship, which makes the office environment… interesting.  We all sit in one small room for 8 hours a day and although they don’t act ‘coupley’ at work you just know that they go home and bitch about us.  Sometimes, with no warning, they like to pull us into a meeting to list all the things that we do wrong.  The complaints they have are more personality based than job based- such as you’re too quiet and don’t ask enough questions, or you’re a very private person.  Well I’m sorry but I don’t feel like pouring my life story out to my bosses!! 

As I said we all sit in one small room and they have complained about me being rather quiet. Even though I sit 8ft away from my boss she would rather email me with simple questions/ tasks for me to do, than ask me across the room.  How does she expect me not to be quiet if she communicates with me via email??

Our contracts say the company promotes flexible working hours and working from home. To help with this the contract states that the company provides laptops to all employees.  I have been there for 5 months and have had to use my own personal laptop at meetings and for business abroad.  Another of my colleagues asked if she could start half an hour early in order to leave half an hour early on a Tuesday and Thursday and she was met with a no.  Is that promoting flexible working hours?   My boss of the other hand uses and abuses the flexible working hours.  She was stuck for childcare for over two months and so arrived at work half an hour late and left two hours early + took all the school holidays off for over two months.

I have many more complaints but I don't want to come across as a complainer :P 
Do any of you have any stories of horrible/ just plain irritating bosses?

Alex x

Thursday, 3 May 2012


I was driving home yesterday and was stuck in the usual ultra-slow moving traffic when I saw a strange sight coming towards me.  It looked like a 'granny-mobile' (those funny vehicles that old people like to drive around  far too fast) with a roof over the top of it.  This thing had a number plate though, and it was on the road in the flow of traffic. It got closer to me and I saw it had no sides/ doors.  Taking into account that it was raining pretty hard, and does quite often round here, this didn't seem like a very sensible vehicle to be driving around.  As I drew alongside I saw there was a bloke in his 60s, wrapped up to the nines to protect himself from the weather, driving this thing.  When I got a good look at the back of this vehicle I learnt that it was a Renault Twizzy:

Apparently you can actually get two people in these things and you shouldn't get wet so long as you don't stop.  So lots of driving through red lights then.  I'd also like to see someone try and fit the weekly shopping in there, it'd be falling out of the sides.  Has anyone else seen these genuinely being driven around??

Alex x

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Parking Dilemma #2

Yesterday I got back to the car park and all of the cars once again had notes on them.  The message these notes carried on them was this-

'No parking this week as we are cleaning the drains and your car may get damaged' 

After the clamping warning last week why are they now being so polite as to let us know ours cars may be damaged by drain cleaning.  To me this doesn't add up.  I have two theories- that the employees of the bed shop just think it's hilarious to wind us all up or that someone else that parks in the car park is winding us all up.  Yesterday the car park was pretty full but this morning, after the mysterious notes of yesterday, there was only a couple of cars in there. No doubt by tomorrow we'll all be back and I shall be on tenterhooks waiting for the next note.....

Alex x

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Parking Dilemma

I work in a building that was built fairly recently and has 121 offices inside.  However when the offices were built no-one obviously thought about how people were going to get to work as they made no provision for car parking.  The closest affordable car-park is about half a mile away.  However, there is a bed shop with a rather large free car park that’s only a couple of minutes’ walk away.  There are about 15 of us commuters that have realised this and we all park our cars in there for the working day.  There’s one very small sign that says parking is for customers only and any non-customers will be clamped but we all ignore it.  There are so many spaces in the car park that it’s not like actual customers will be short of one. 

A couple of months ago a note was left of my windscreen saying that the car park would be closed for the next two days for resurfacing. I thought that it was rather strange and wondered if the staff had just got bored and thought they’d kindly let the commuters know about the resurfacing.  So reluctantly the next day I left my car in the further away car park and walked in to work.  When I walked back to the car that day there nothing seemed to have happened in the bed shop car park with regards to the resurfacing and there were still cars parked in there.  So the next day I went back to parking at the bed shop. 

Two days ago I got back to the car and found this note on my windscreen- 

‘Any cars parking that are not registered to park need to do so straight away by calling us on 014****3996.  Do not call into the shop.  If you are not registered your car will be clamped without further warning’.  

So yesterday I parked up in the further away car park and on my way back to the car after work there were still quite a few of the commuter cars in the bed shop car park and none of them had been clamped. 

I didn’t park in there again today but I’m already wondering whether the bed shop’s threats are just empty because let’s be honest how on earth are they going to clamp 20 cars?? Already this year I’ve saved £140 on parking money so if I did get clamped I’d still have made a saving because surely they wouldn’t charge me £140 to remove the clamp?? What would you do? Would you risk it to park closer for free, or would you pay to park further away?

Alex x 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Tropical World

Yesterday, at 7am, all of the 5 fire alarms in our house started going off and there was nothing we could do to shut them up.  As it was a Sunday our letting agents were closed, they have no emergency number, and the landlords mobile was turned off.  This resulted in us either going crazy or going out.  After having had a late night the night before I wasn't so happy about having to get up so early but we ended up having a lovely day out.

We went to Tropical World in Leeds which has the largest collection of tropical plants in the UK (outside of Kew Gardens) and houses butterflies, birds, fish, crocodiles and nocturnal monkeys and bats.  It's a ridiculously cheap day out at £3.50 an adult so it's definitely worth the trip if you're in the vicinity.

I have an irrational fear of most animals, and especially butterflies, which I know sounds ridiculous because there are utterly harmless but I think it's their erratic flying I don't like.   Anyhow, I had to overcome this fear because I wanted to get some good pictures with my new high zoom camera lens!  

Which is your favourite?

Alex x

Friday, 13 April 2012

Song of the Week # 3

This is the new song by DJ Fresh and Dizzee Rascal which is due to be released in June.  I've got a feeling it's going to be a big summer tune!

Alex x

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Talented Mr Ripley

The Talented Mr Ripley is one of those where you just wouldn't guess what was going to happen next.  I've seen it so many times, and it is still brilliant.  It's a film that is so often on TV that it has evaded my DVD collection for years so for Christmas I asked for a copy.  Unbeknownst to me the film was actually based on a book so as well as the DVD my Mum bought me a copy of the book.

Even though it was written over 50 years ago it feels very undated if you disregard obvious things such as mobile phones! The film follows the book fairly closely with only subtle differences but it still makes a great read and one I would certainly recommend.

If you haven't seen the film it's about a young guy called Tom Ripley who is struggling to keep away from the jaws of creditors/ law.  One day he bumps into an acquaintance whose son live in Europe against the wishes of his father.  The acquaintance offers Tom a free trip to Europe with the purpose of getting his son to fly back to America.  Once Tom reaches Europe he gets a taste for money and the good life and isn't willing to give it up at any cost.  

I was, as I always am when I finish a good book, disappointed that there wasn't any more to read.  However, it is the first in a series! I went out and bought the whole series last week and I'm now half way through the second which is called Ripley Under Ground.

It is just as gripping as the first and I am left with high hopes for the next three books. The book is only a few £s on eBay so if you like thrillers or know someone who does, buy it!

Alex x

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Vienna and a Night Out at the Dogs

I haven't had chance to blog for a week now as I've been in Vienna on a business trip.  I didn't think I'd get to see too much of the city as I knew most of my time there would be spent at the conference. However, the hotel was located right in the centre of town so I got a chance to have a look around in the evenings.  Vienna is a beautiful city and is spotlessly clean.  I didn't see one piece of litter and they seemed to wash the streets every single night (they obviously don't seem to be low on water!). 

Some nice lights projected onto a church
The Town Hall 
A theatre opposite the Town Hall
One of two matching buildings that were opposite each other
On the second evening we took a short tour of the city in a horse and cart. The gentle rocking of the cart made us all feel quite sleepy! 

My colleagues and I in the horse and cart
I'd organised for us all to have dinner in a restaurant that was on a boat on the Danube canal.  It was quite similar to one of those pop-up restaurants but had a lovely atmosphere.  I had lamb and one potato- and that was the whole dish.  What there was was delicious however I was left thinking where was the veg?

The boat restaurant
I got back on Thursday and it was nice to be back with Lea again.  We went to a greyhound race track last night as we'd got cheap tickets on Groupon.  It was the first time I'd been to see dog racing and the first time I'd ever really placed a proper bet.  I won 4 out of my 10 bets and we only ended up losing a couple of pounds so it was quite a cheap night out! We went outside to watch for the last race of the night and even though I don't really like dogs it made me a bit sad to hear one of them whimpering just before it's race. Although my dad pointed out that raising dogs to race is no different to raising animals to eat.  I suppose that they live a longer life and are shown more affection than farm animals are shown.  Do any of you have any thoughts on this?

My next business trip is to Zurich in May so I'm hoping I get enough time there to see some sights too.  Can any of you recommend things to see in Zurich?

Alex x

Saturday, 31 March 2012


Traffic.  How is it that you can be stuck in the largest traffic jam and then it all suddenly clears up and there are no cars on the road?  And then a bit further down the motorway the car in front of you brakes so fast you almost rear end it and there you are stuck in a jam again.  Can some one please explain to me how that actually happens?

I only have a 22 mile commute, most of which is on the motorway.  And its usually like that all the way home.  It's infuriating!

However driving, even with the recent hike in fuel prices, is still cheaper than getting the train- and I have to leave the house earlier to catch the train. I get that public transport is more eco-friendly but when it's cold and raining in the morning, you have to stand up all the way to work in a crowded carriage AND it's more expensive it's no wonder there are so many cars on the road creating traffic.  The government should be doing something to make public transport more affordable to commuters because it's going to take a lot for me to stop driving to work even with the traffic.

Do you have an annoying journey to work/university?

Alex x

Friday, 30 March 2012

Song of the Week #2

I've liked this song ever since I had in on my Walkman on a skiing trip when I was about 10.  I can picture listening to it right now as we drove up the mountain in the coach on the way to resort.  I didn't see the song video for many years after that and it didn't disappoint.  I think this is one of the best song videos ever made, especially the ending.....

Let me know your thoughts!

Alex x

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Last Pepsi

I don't understand people who can't tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi.  To me they taste totally different and Pepsi is waaaay nicer.  I keep a multipack of Pepsi in my cupboard at work and tend to have a can in the afternoon.  Just living up to my 'you only live once' motto.  So this afternoon I reach into my cupboard and there's only one can left in the multipack.  I grab it and this is what I get....

It's all leaked out from a hole in the rim :( and that was my last one. And now I'm wondering what Pepsi will give me for free if I send the can in....

Have you ever sent back anything faulty and been sent something for free?

Alex x

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Sometime when Lea goes into town she comes back with a cakey surprise for me to take into work the next day and make all my colleagues jealous.  Yesterday she got me a strawberry dream which I ate for my lunch today and it was delicious :)

I have never actually been in this magical cupcake shop but they seem to have all sorts of strange flavours.  The last two she's given me were Sticky Toffee Pudding and Vanilla Cupcake Sundae:

If you're ever in Leeds or Harrogate I highly recommend a visit. Maybe one day I'll even go in myself! You can visit their website here.

What's the strangest cupcake you've ever had?

Alex x

20 Things I Love About Summer

1. BBQs
Meat tastes different when it’s been barbequed.  It has the taste of summer to it. My BBQ favourites are lime chicken, sausages and chicken and veg kebabs.

2. Sitting outside the pub
Spending all evening just watching the world go by with a bottle of wine or a few pints of Crabbies.

3. Summer playlist/ songs
I still listen to my summer playlist in winter to remind me of the summer, but my summer songs are constantly on in the car from the moment summer starts to show its face.

4. Shorts
I <3 wearing shorts.  They make me feel free.  I just searched through 4 years worth of photos and couldn't find a decent picture of me in shorts unfortunately!

5. Sun tans
It’s nice to get rid of that pasty whiteness of the winter and get a bit of colour on your skin!

6. Strawberries
Someone once said to me that they were allergic to strawberries. Then someone else said if they found out they were allergic to strawberries they’d throw themselves into a lake (in a bad way, not just for a swim).  I feel the same way.  Being allergic to strawberries would be disastrous.

7. Leaves on trees
The world looks bare in winter.  The first day the leaves start to come back out on the trees is one of the best days of the year.  The world becomes more colourful.

8. Day trips
My favourite day trip last year was a day in the Lake District with Lea where we ended up playing pitch and putt and then having a pub dinner.

9. Lighter nights
No one likes leaving work and it already being dark! Lighter nights make you feel like you have more time.

10. Haze
This is truly a summer phenomenon.  And that’s why I like it.

11. Less rain
I absolutely HATE the rain.  It just makes everything wet (might be an obvious point but it’s annoying!).

12. Salad
Salad doesn't feel right in the winter but I'd happily eat it all through summer. Tomato and mozzarella is my favourite summer salad. 

13. Smiles
There’s a happier vibe in the air in summer.  Everyone is more smiley and good natured all round :)

14. Holidays
Who doesn’t love holidays????

15. Smell of cut grass
It’s not a smell I absolutely LOVE, I mean I wouldn’t buy a candle that smelt of cut grass, but it is one of THE summer smells.

16. Sunshine and blue sky, with maybe the odd floating cloud
After the overcast winter days the blue sky is so clean and refreshing.  Not to mention that my favourite colour is blue. The odd floating cloud just adds a little more interest.

17. Picnics
The preparation and packing of the food, choosing wear to go and finding somewhere to sit- I love everything about picnics.

18. Driving with the windows down
I got to do this for the first time this year on my way home yesterday. Having the windows down is the next best thing to having a convertible: P

19. Bare feet on grass
The feel of grass on bare soles is welcome after the claustrophobia or shoes and socks.  Flip flops also float my boat.

 20. Sleeping on top of the covers
Again I like this because there's a feeling of freedom. 

What do you like about summer?  Have I missed anything super amazing off?

Alex x

Monday, 26 March 2012

Spring Has Arrived!

This morning when I left for work it was cold, and foggy and there was condensation on my car.  When I arrived at wok an hour later it was still pretty cold.  So when I left the office to go for my lunch I assumed it was still coat weather.  I was wrong! It's such nice warm weather outside I had to carry my coat.  Everyone in town had big smiles on their faces and there was a happy vibe in the air.  I'm so glad the spring has finally arrived :)

I couldn't decide what to have for my lunch so I got a sandwich and chips- my motto is you only live once so why waste it being health conscious. I even bought Lea a little spring present (oh she's so lucky to have me).  I can't say what I got her though because she'll read this and it'll ruin the surprise.

I hope the sun is shining where you are :)

Alex x

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Last Nights Photos

Last night I went out and took some photos.  Here are a selection:

Canon EOS 1100D, ISO 100, f/1, 20", 18mm 
Canon EOS 1100D, ISO 100, f/1, 20", 42mm

Canon EOS 1100D, ISO 3200, f/5, 1/8", 42mm

Canon EOS 1100D, ISO 2500, f/3.5, 1/30", 18mm

Canon EOS 1100D, ISO 1000, f/3.5, 1/40", 18mm

Canon EOS 1100D, ISO 3200, f/3.5, 1/15", 18mm
Which is your favourite?

Alex x