Monday, 5 August 2013

Another 4 crossed off the list!

So a lot has happened in the last month, I have been on holiday to the beautiful North East, staying in Alnwick. Some of the pictures are on my flickr site. We had a lovely time, it was just the horrible head cold I came home with that took the edge off the enjoyment. I have also had an interview for a new job, the interview wasn't a good experience but I got offered the job. The job title is 'Student Education Technology Innovations Officer' I am not sure I like the job title but I am prepared to give it a go.

Task list
1.Start a blog to keep track of progress and report back. - doing :) 

2. Read a book every month (or 12 in the year) and post a blog comment about it  - 3/12 - well I am reading on the train but not making any significant progress. I must try harder!


3. Complete a cross-stitch design every month - 6/12 done I need to get up to speed on this. I have 3 to work on.

4. Run a reasonable 5km run - I am looking at gym membership so I can work on getting fitter, I just need to decide which gym.


5. Visit a new city in the UK - Been to Manchester

6. Go to a rugby game -. - I have achieved this, I went to see Wakefield Wildcats vs London Broncos on Sunday 23rd June, with my brother, his girlfriend and mum. Wakefield won, so a good day was had by all and a new task crossed off the list.







7. Listen to a new band as recommended by someone else - Done

8. Try a new recipe from my recipe books each month and blog about it - I have tried a couple of recipes from the Good Food magazine, I have also just ordered 3 new cook books so hopefully this will help me try some new recipes. 


9. Go to a ballet - there is one on at the playhouse in Leeds but I need to go with someone really.

10. Go to a Classical concert - I might wait until the students come back for the student societies ones


11. Have a facial - I am determined to get this sorted in the next month, I have plenty of holiday to take to get this sorted.

12. Track day  - I have begun to price this up, its not going to be cheap!

13. Get a tattoo - No further along with this


14. Go to a 20-20 cricket game - Had an amazing time at the Cricket thanks to James for organising! The weather was amazing sun hats, sun cream and beer. It went all the way to the last ball and it was a draw!





15. Eat in a Michellin Star restaurant - there are some things I need to work on

16. Get a new qualification - I haven't thought about this one, I will look at this soon.


17. Go on a steam train - I need to get a date sorted!


18. Go to Centre Parcs - Not thought about this one

19. Give something up for lent - completed :)

20. Learn to knit a scarf -The scarf is done! I completed it on the warmest day of the year, I am thinking of trying a tea cosy next. Its very warm and thick, hopefully it will come in useful in winter.





21. Ride a horse, even if its just a short ride - I must email Paul with dates I can do, as time is passing - sorry Paul.

22. Do a course of some sort maybe painting or crafting etc - Learnt to keep bees.

23. Go to a craft show or game fair - Went to Cake and Bake show

24. To take more pictures - I now have a flickr site here

25. Eat one meat free day a week -Really struggling with this and may admit defeat on it!


26. To attend at least 6 WYNTV tasks - So I have been to one social and one task, I helped clear Rose Bay Willow Herb. - I have a few more in the diary so hopefully get to a few more this year


27. Build a sandcastle at the seaside-  I built a sandcastle at Alnmouth beach on my holiday, i even bought a bucket and spade! The sand wasn't the best for building sand castles but i had a go.






28. Attend more talks after work   - this will have to wait until term starts and the seminars begin to start up again.

29. Ride my bike - hopefully if I go to the gym then I can get fit enough to enjoy it :)


30. And finally work to get my contract extended or find myself a new exciting job. - I had an interview and got offered the job, I start on 1st September. I am very nervous that I will be able to achieve but I will do my best. I have 6 months to prove that I am worth keeping. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

People leave our lives but not our memories

Mum and Dad.

I have written this post as a way to air my thoughts about my Dad. I am not the best with words, but I have just written what I could think of.


My Dad passed away on 18th June in his care home, he had a progressive illness that he could no longer fight. Although the last 5 years while he stayed in his care home have not been easy, I can honestly say he has had 5 star treatment. The staff are angels that like a party, and care like its family. The home is not a place to die but a place to live, whether it's rugby, swimming, films or a shandy in the pub they would take you out. There is beauty treatments, games, story telling and cooked from fresh meals. They provided support and care not just for Dad but for all of us, especially mum over the last few weeks, with hot meals, a spare bed and sitting with Dad around the clock so she could some sleep. They even sat with her at the end and made us lunch and drinks to make sure we didn't go without. A very big thank you to Ange who dressed Dad for the funeral director, dressing him in his best clothes, her final act of care. Without the home and its amazing staff our last few years would have been traumatic difficult and maybe shorter.

So that's the end, lets go back to the beginning, well my beginning. I think I have always been a Daddy's girl. I loved the things my Dad loves trees, plants and growing things, I would rather be in the garden than the house. My love for classic cars is from him, I hope my dress sense is slightly better than his though! I don't have a particular love for orange, like he does. My Dad was always a joker, the one to pull a funny face at a tense moment and always had a toothy grin. Certain things were a gaurantee, on a walk it wasn't bird spotting but tree spotting, and gathering saplings in his rucksack. He always carried a rucksack but it never had food or clothes in, it was for collecting saplings of conifers, not that we needed to grow huge trees. He also gathered conkers and at one point we had 100 conker trees in various pots around the garden, when we were ever going to need 100 conker trees I do not know.
There are the christmas presents I bought for mum on his behalf, from an early age I was taken to the shops to buy mum's presents, he would pay and carry but I had to select things. It wasn't that he didn't care but he wanted to buy things she wanted or needed. There was his love of loud music, bonsai trees, hot dog sausages, ice cream milkshakes and pickled cauliflowers. He could not cook anything, well maybe porridge in the microwave, he didnt like cheese sauce in his lasagne or curry.

There are so many memories to share but the thing that I miss most is that when things were hard or I was upset he would give me a cuddle and tell me everything would be ok because he was there.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

The cake I forgot

I wrote yesterdays post in a bit of hurry and forgot to add this cake. I will also add more pics to the flickr site. I will also put a separate post about my dad.

One of my main tasks this last week has been to make a cake for a lady retiring from work after 40 years at the University. The cake I made was a subduction zone, to reflect her area of research and work.  I did a test cake a couple of weeks ago before making the larger final cake. So the cake below is the test cake.


The final cake was alot larger and delivered to the retirement lunch to be cut by Marge. I think she liked it and it was identified as a subduction zone by staff so that was a great success. The large cake took 24 eggs and a full days baking to make, it's 12" square.




Saturday, 29 June 2013

The times, they are a changing.

This is bit a short summary, things have changed a lot in the last month. I was meant to go away but this was cancelled due to Dad being ill. On the 18th June my Dad passed away after a long illness, he had amazing care in his care home over the last 5 years. I will hopefully write a longer blog in the coming week. I haven written something for Dad so I will post that at some point in the future to.

On top of the things listed below, I went to the theatre with some people from the department to see Sherlock Holmes

In summary I have achieved 5 tasks completely and 9 are ongoing. The ones I want to achieve next are - tattoo, cricket and sandcastle building! Then horse riding, facial and steam train. 

Again comments and suggestions welcomed, does anyone fancy the ballet or a classical concert. 

Task list
1.Start a blog to keep track of progress and report back. - doing :) 

2. Read a book every month (or 12 in the year) and post a blog comment about it  - 3/12 - I haven't really done much reading, I think downloading them on to my tabler might help, also I am away for a week soon so I might be able to read more. 


3. Complete a cross-stitch design every month - 6/12 done :) - again i haven't done any more of this.

4. Run a reasonable 5km run - Nope but I have been very tired, so need to slowly build this up. - this is something I need to start on.


5. Visit a new city in the UK - Been to Manchester

6. Go to a rugby game -. - I have achieved this, I went to see Wakefield Wildcats vs London Broncos on Sunday 23rd June, with my brother, his girlfriend and mum. Wakefield won, so a good day was had by all and a new task crossed off the list.






7. Listen to a new band as recommended by someone else - Done

8. Try a new recipe from my recipe books each month and blog about it - . I made a apple crumble cake for the SEE cake club, I think it was a bit of a hit.. 


http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2198652/apple-crumble-loaf

9. Go to a ballet - nothing yet - no still failing

10. Go to a Classical concert - same as above -  nope

11. Have a facial - I should just book one, and see if I like it! - Thanks to Sam for her suggestions, I must now book, not sure when I well find the time. 

12. Track day  - not looked yet- not yet

13. Get a tattoo - this I have re-thought and i am going for a tree/branch, I have a name of an artist in Leeds, thanks to Graham so this is progressing.

14. Go to a 20-20 cricket game - Organised with some PhD's from work going to Headingly on 5th July -  this is net friday!

15. Eat in a Michellin Star restaurant - there are some things I need to work on

16. Get a new qualification - I haven't thought about this one, I will look at this soon.


17. Go on a steam train - I need to get a date sorted!


18. Go to Centre Parcs - Not thought about this one

19. Give something up for lent - completed :)

20. Learn to knit a scarf - Scarf is still ongoing but its getting bigger hopefully I will get it finished soon. 

21. Ride a horse, even if its just a short ride - I really need to sort this out, maybe a weekend in August

22. Do a course of some sort maybe painting or crafting etc - Learnt to keep bees.

23. Go to a craft show or game fair - Went to Cake and Bake show

24. To take more pictures - I now have a flickr site here

25. Eat one meat free day a week -I am not very good at this, although I have managed one day and generally only have meat in one meal. 


26. To attend at least 6 WYNTV tasks - So I have been to one social and one task, I helped clear Rose Bay Willow Herb.


27. Build a sandcastle at the seaside-  With the holiday being rebooked I hope to get this one sorted.

28. Attend more talks after work   - nope

29. Ride my bike - still in the garage -  nope


30. And finally work to get my contract extended or find myself a new exciting job. - Well I have applied for y new job, the closing date was friday, so I now just need to get an interview.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Better late than never

So its over a month since I have posted, so this is going to be a long and rambling one.

So since my last post I have turned 30, become a bee keeper and learnt to knit!

Learning to knit....
I attended a one day course on learning to knit at a little shop in Leeds called Baa Ram Ewe. It was a brilliant day and it meant I got to have lunch at Salvos. I learnt the basic skills including make some bunting. I am currently working a big fluffy scarf here it is partially finished. The next project will either be a tea cosy or a woolly hat. I know its summer, but based on the speed I knit it will be ready for winter! Not sure I work quick enough to make people gifts.




Birthday trip
So this year I turned 30, for my birthday I went out for the day to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The current display is amazing, the pictures don't do it justice. After this we went for an ice-cream they were huge!! The day ended with Hull being promoted to the Premiership a pretty good Birthday. Tom and Laura have offered to take me on a Steam train as part of their birthday gift, so that's another challenge in the process.





Narrow Boat Trip
I went on a Narrow Boat trip with some of my colleauges from WYNTV, it was a little grey and wet but good to catch up with friends. I made a lemon and lime yoghurt cake for this trip!



Bee Keeping

At work we have 3 bee hives, I attended a 2 day course with Bradford Bee keepers. I loved it! The weather was brilliant, the people helpful and the bees were amazing. I am now going to help with the bees at work and then maybe look at getting a hive nearer home next summer.





Other tasks

Over the last month, I have also been to Harlow Carr (pictures on hyper link) gardens for mum's birthday and lunch at Betty's Tea room. I have got tickets to go to T20 cricket with people from work. 
I went to a Clandestine Cake Club event, there were 23 cakes to taste all with a drink theme - it was cake for dinner. I also made a 4 layer toffee cake for my birthday, a ginger, rum and lime one,  a berry cheesecake and a number of cupcakes for a meeting at work! 




Phew!

Well I think that's it, my holiday to Alnwick has been delayed due to my Dad's poor health, but over the next month I hope to try and get my bike out.


Task list

1.Start a blog to keep track of progress and report back. - doing :) 

2. Read a book every month (or 12 in the year) and post a blog comment about it  - 3/12


3. Complete a cross-stitch design every month - 6/12 done :)

4. Run a reasonable 5km run - Nope but I have been very tired, so need to slowly build this up.


5. Visit a new city in the UK - Been to Manchester

6. Go to a rugby game - Need to work on this one.

7. Listen to a new band as recommended by someone else - Done

8. Try a new recipe from my recipe books each month and blog about it - Tried a new cake recipe for cake club and a peanut butter and banana muffin recipe, a 4 layer toffee cake and a lime,lemon and yoghurt cake. So that 5/12.

9. Go to a ballet - nothing yet

10. Go to a Classical concert - same as above

11. Have a facial - I should just book one, and see if I like it!

12. Track day  - not looked yet

13. Get a tattoo - needs to be a sensible decision and not rushed, advice welcomed, thinking stars or butterflies.

14. Go to a 20-20 cricket game - Organised with some PhD's from work going to Headingly on 5th July

15. Eat in a Michellin Star restaurant - nothing planned

16. Get a new qualification - Need to work on this one, failed at MOOC just not enough time.

17. Go on a steam train - Tom and Laura have offered to take me, so just need to book a date.


18. Go to Centre Parcs - probably later in the year, 

19. Give something up for lent - completed :)

20. Learn to knit a scarf - See info above, learnt to knit, scarf in progress!

21. Ride a horse, even if its just a short ride - Going to do this with my friend Paul from Newcastle.

22. Do a course of some sort maybe painting or crafting etc - Learnt to keep bees!! See above

23. Go to a craft show or game fair - Went to Cake and Bake show

24. To take more pictures - I now have a flickr site here

25. Eat one meat free day a week - Must try harder!

26. To attend at least 6 WYNTV tasks - Although i have been to one social event, I am hoping to go to a tas this week at Nostell Priory.
27. Build a sandcastle at the seaside-  Holiday cancelled, hope to go soon..


28. Attend more talks after work  - tried but got ill so couldnt go, need to try harder

29. Ride my bike - still in the garage


30. And finally work to get my contract extended or find myself a new exciting job. - this is begining to change but still waiting for something to apply for.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Time to reflect and plan again.

So I have achieved a number of things on my list but I probably need to start on the more challenging and costly tasks. So lets see how well I am doing.

1.Start a blog to keep track of progress and report back. - So still doing this and about to set up some more at work.

2. Read a book every month (or 12 in the year) and post a blog comment about it  - 3 read now, I have found having them on my ipad really helps me read more. So the 2 books I have read recently are:


Gervase Phinn: All These Lonely People. Its quite a sad book but does tell you not to judge a book by its cover and all anyone wants is to be loved and needed. 

Tom Reynolds: Blood, Sweat and Tea: Real Life Adventures in an Inner-city Ambulance. This gives a inside view on life as a member of the London ambulance service, it made me laugh and cry both in happiness and sadness. It also made me realise that I will only ever call an ambulance when I really need one. 














3. Complete a cross-stitch design every month - still only 5/12 done but got one that is nearly complete

4. Run a reasonable 5km run - I should start making an effort on this one, maybe I will start using the xbox and try and do 5km in the house first before venturing outside.


5. Visit a new city in the UK -  Went to Manchester so this one is technically complete :) although I will try to visit more cities. 

6. Go to a rugby game - I really need to organise this and drag someone along, will have to find someone to take to a league game especially now the weather is improving.
7. Listen to a new band as recommended by someone else - Complete this one thanks to Hayley.

8. Try a new recipe from my recipe books each month and blog about it - For Debbie Rosen's birthday at work, I baked a Raspberry Cakewell from my new Clandestine Cake club book, it seemed to go down well. 




9. Go to a ballet I will get the Ballet events list and see what is available.

10. Go to a Classical concert - I may go to one of the University ones, but i may need to wait until September.

11. Have a facial -I am just being lazy on this one but I should treat myself for my birthday.
12. Track day  - I need to investigate the cost and see if someone will come with me, I don't fancy going on my own.

13. Get a tattoo I think I know what I want, I just need to find a suitable tattoo artist. 

14. Go to a 20-20 cricket game - I may fail on this one, but hopefully get to a cricket game this year, the season is only just starting so plenty of time yet.

15. Eat in a Michellin Star restaurant This is one for later in the year, I need to save some cash!

16. Get a new qualification - failed miserably at the MOOC, I will write my thoughts on MOOC's in general in a separate post. My current options are a bee keeping course so I can help keep the bees at work or an icing course.

17. Go on a steam train Need to replan this trip, maybe a trip to Scarborough


18. Go to Centre Parcs - Haven't really thought about this but maybe October time

19. Give something up for lent - completed :)

20. Learn to knit a scarf - scarf course at shop in Headingley so need to book on to it. I have looked and they are once a month so might need to leave it until June or July.

21. Ride a horse, even if its just a short ride - I have not investigated this, will look into it for a summer event.


22. Do a course of some sort maybe painting or crafting etc - must see what the new lists are, might do a cake decorating one. These is a cake decorating one at Leeds Grammar school but I missed the current one, hopefully they will repeat it at a time i can do. There is also a shop in Ossett that has courses too.

23. Go to a craft show or game fair - Cake and Bake show done! See my previous post, but always looking for new shows.

24. To take more pictures - I now have a flickr site here

25. Eat one meat free day a week - Must try harder!

26. To attend at least 6 WYNTV tasks - There are a large number of tasks that are a long drive or require lots of walking so will wait for the slightly nearer tasks.


27. Build a sandcastle at the seaside Going to do this when I go to Alnwick in about 5 weeks time.


28. Attend more talks after work  - Need to try and go to some, there is one on Monday but it just means late home and then feel rushed.

29. Ride my bike - still in the garage, but have found a flat 2 mile route to try and get going on.

30. And finally work to get my contract extended or find myself a new exciting job. - I still don't know anything and its beginning to get to me, I will start applying for other jobs.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Cake, cake and more cake!

So early on Saturday morning me, mum and a cake set off to Manchester, 3 train journeys and about 2 hours later we arrive at Manchester Central. The train journey was good apart from noisy sexist man on the train who while talking to another man (possibly his friend but it was difficult to tell) described every woman in the conversation by their body shape or beauty level. So we were quite happy to get off the train at Manchester Picadilly and change train to go to Oxford Road. This train went to Liverpool, on Grand National Day, it was rammed!! It was worse than any tube I have been on and all the time trying to protect a delicate cake.

Arriving at Manchester Central with the cake, I decided rather than queueing with everyone else (it was a very big queue) we entered through the competitors entrance waving the cake at the security guard. We are in! It is a lovely venue, and very busy. I spotted the Clandestine Cake Club stand and abandoned my cake. We were told judging was at noon. So off me and mum set into the show. We walked around the stalls and decided to watch a demonstration by Mich Turner who runs the Little Venice Cake Company. She is tiny but very instructive so I learnt a lot.

My cake was entered into the Clandestine Cake Club competition along with 8 other entries. It was judged by Peter Sidwell.

Here is Peter testing my cake with Lynn Hill from the Clandestine Cake Club. 


I didn't win :( but never mind it's the taking part that counts. I then went and bought lots of bread flours, I want to try making some different breads. I also bought some fancy textured mats to make embossed icing for cakes, lots of coloured icing and a rolling mat and 2 new books.We didn't buy light things, we were silly.

At 4pm after watching the Baker Brothers we headed out in to the Manchester sunshine. We stretched our legs and took in the amazing architecture. Then home!

Only one  change heading home and a Chinese takeaway too. So it was a pretty good day.
My next cake session is to bake a cake for Debbie at work for her birthday, I will be using a recipe from one of my new books. My flikr site has more pictures from the show, there are some truly amazing cakes!

So this is 2 more challenges off my list, visiting a new city and going to a show, still many to go! But I don't have any money this month so I wont be doing many this month. 

I have a few other things to update on but I will leave that until the weekend.