Wednesday, 31 August 2011

August Book Review

I've had a good month. Mostly down to a couple of long train journeys, a couple of short books and one book in particular that I really, really, really struggled to put down.

Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht
One of those books that appears to be everywhere at the moment, appearing on this list and the other. Think I got it half price with an offer in Grazia magazine.

Part fairy tale and part real life it actually made it hard to decide how I felt about this book. I think I would have liked it more had it been pure fantasy or completely real, being betwixt and between didn't really do it for me.

Nevertheless it has all the beautiful hallmarks of a fairy tale story and it's worth picking up.

Starter for Ten - David Nicholls
I'm sure you know by now how much I loved One Day when I read it a couple of years ago. If you don't - I did. (In fact I'm glad I did these reviews, this means I can prove I read it before everyone's jumped on the band wagon.)

Having seen a review on Nose in a Book I wanted to pick this up and when I found it on offer in WH Smiths I decided it was a sign I should buy it.

Oh how I laughed. I laughed in public and I laughed in private and I may even have snorted once or twice. I loved it. And luckily for me, the review I've just linked to is much better than anything I could have written so I'll send you over there.

I have to say though, I saw the book a week or so after I'd finished reading it and could not have been more disappointed if I tried. It was just so so not good, every bit of essence that made the book hilarious was missed out and it was just such a shame. It's impossible for me to say if I would have liked the film if I hadn't read  the book, probably, who knows? I can say that it's made me pretty nervy about going to see One Day at the cinema.

Pavane - Keith Roberts
I picked this guy up at work because it had the most fabulously retro front cover ever. I seriously couldn't resist it. Sci-fi isn't normally my kind of thing to be honest but I decided to give this one a whirl. I have since done a bit of 'research' (i.e. looking on Wikpedia) and have discovered that this book is kind of a big deal in the sci-fi world. One might even call it a 'classic' - but don't worry I won't be counting it as one of mine (until I get to the end of the year and I'm not on track for completing my mission.)

Yeeeeeaaah. Can't say my stance on sci-fi has changed much. This book imagines what would have happened if Elizabeth I had died and Catholics ruled the world. If I was a Catholic I might be a little bit tetchy about this book - the result is basically that the Catholic church has prohibited invention of any kind, meaning that when we start the book in the 1960s England is a place of steam trains and semaphore.

The book consists of a few stand alone chapters which slightly interweave with each other but it feels disjointed and was just kinda boring to be honest.

Wilt on High - Tom Sharpe
I've read a Tom Sharpe before and this was exactly what how I remembered the first one. Fun.

Think Evelyn Waugh meets the Carry On films and you have Tom Sharpe. They're a little bit rude, little bit comedy of errors, little bit smutty and a lot funny. Just a good, easy, fun read, would definitely recommend for a little light relief.

This book is the third in a series featuring Wilt. I haven't read the other two but it didn't matter at all, there are a few references to previous goings on but all they've made me want to do is go out and find the other two books.


Book of the Month?

Starter for Ten without doubt

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hunger Beast

Today I have a hunger beast that has taken over my whole body. He won't be satisfied no matter what I feed him.

It's only 4pm and already today I've eaten:

- Weetabix x2
- Punnet of cherry tomatoes x1
- Pack of Belvita biscuits x1*
- Chicken salad wrap x1
- Apple x1
- Plums x4
- Packet of Ryvita Minis (Sweet Chilli flavour) x1
- Weightwatchers Peach yoghurt x1

And still The Hunger Beast will not be satiated.

I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. Everything on that list is pretty good for me, it's not like I've eaten 12 Snickers (although that could just be because I don't have any of those to hand.) But still - quantity-wise it feels like a lot has gone in my body to try and calm that Beast.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that the Beast is tricking me.

You see I'm going to Pizza Express for dinner tonight with my cousin and I get the feeling that the Beast has somehow found this out and has decided that nothing is going to satisfy it unless it's covered in cheese and baked in an oven.


*Belvita biscuits are advertised as a breakfast replacement. There's no way that would work for the Hunger Beast even on its very best day but I am in love with these biscuits in a possibly inappropriate way and they are my official mid-morning snack.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


I am frazzled.

Work is piling on and I'm still running about like a headless chicken looking after houses and cats that aren't my own and my patience is running thin.

I keep trying to take time out for myself and when I do I've been crocheting to keep me calm. I am on a mega stash busting exercise. There are scraps all over the shop and whilst they are very pretty to look at I'm not a big fan of just having pretty things that aren't useful.

You may remember a while ago I mentioned that I was using up some of my scraps to make some squares for the Crochet a Rainbow project. Well I don't know what's going on with it but I haven't heard anything so I decided that I would put them towards another cause.

An old school friend heard that I crocheted and pointed me in the direction of a Facebook group called Preemies UK - a group of people that crochet and knit baby hats, cardigans and blankets that are sent to hospitals across the country for their neo-natal units.

Little tiny blankets for little tiny babies? Yes please!

I get to stash bust, whip up some blankets quickly and do something for a good cause. Tick tick and tick.

Looking at the donations that the group normally gets I noticed that they're a little on the traditional side shall we say. There's a lot of pale pastel going on. Trouble is if I'm going to be stash busting my offerings aren't going to be on the subtle side. Ah well, hopefully the recipients will be fans of having a little colour in their newborn's life.

I decided to do a few different patterns just to mix things up.

A granny stripe.

A bit of multi-coloured granny square action.

And one big granny square with a bit of fancy pants edging.

They only need blankets that are anything between 15" and 30" so it's quite easy to get these guys crocheted up double quick. It's been nice to feel like I've been getting something done during this slightly topsy turvy period.

Looking forward to getting these sent out.

Monday, 15 August 2011

My secret love

After 28 years of being tall I’ve almost got used to it. I was looking through some baby photos the other day and came across one of me sat on my then 14 year old sister’s knee. But wait. I was sat on her lap, then my legs stretch halfway across the room and my head reached up to her shoulder. “My god” I commented, “I was a freakishly long child.”
Yes” Mum replied “I was difficult really because people thought you were much older than you were so actually thought you were a bit retarded because here they thought they were looking at a 3 year old, when instead they were looking an 18 month old.” Thanks Mum.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not massive at all. I’m 5’9” (maybe a shade above but definitely not 5’10”) which actually only makes me a couple of inches taller than the average for women, and about the same height as an average man. Apparently.

For a long time I was convinced that Hull was full of ridiculously short men, but I had a revelation a while back on a night out after cockling over and hurting my ankle. They’re not ridiculously short, I just have a predilection for 4 inch heels – I’m ridiculously tall! It took me a night out in flats to realise that actually, there were a lot of ‘normal’ sized men out there.
Unfortunately I’ve hit a stumbling block in the shape of The Person, who reckons he is 6 foot. I say reckons because he is clearly wrong. If he was 6 foot then I could wear more than an inch high heel and not be taller than him and I can’t. I’ve tried reasoning with him but he’s insistent that he’s 6 foot. Incorrect.

I know it’s shallow and I know it’s silly but I just cannot face being taller than my boyfriend. I just can’t. And it’s not him telling me I can’t be taller than him, he thinks I’m as crazy as you all do right now, he doesn’t get what the big deal is. I put two thumbs up to Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum and all the other similar couples out there, but I cannot comprehend the thought of going out with my boyfriend and bending down to whisper in his ear. No. Sorry. No way.
With a shoe collection full of 3 inch heels and above I have slowly but surely begun to rectify matters, trying to re-programme my brain to not go for the 4 inch heel with 2 inch platform, but instead to go for the much more sensible 1.5 inch heel height. I am getting there, but the results are pretty grim.

Luckily for me there have been lots of cool sandals out there this summer, they can double as going out shoes at some point...can’t they? And I found a lovely little pair on sale in Dorothy Perkins the other day which hit the Holy Grail of being small enough that I’m not taller than The Person but also being appropriate for work. Tick!

I am trying to love them. I really am. But I know that my heart is reserved for pairs of shoes that send me up in to the stratosphere. They just look prettier. Plus we all know that the higher the heel, the better your leg looks – even more important when you have over-developed calf muscles like mine which could see me getting mistaken from the knees down for an England Scrum Half, out for the night in drag.

I will continue to try to expand my shoe collection full of pretty pumps and gorgeous flats, but I know, and you know, that nothing’s going to make my heart beat faster than shoes like these little guys. Or these guys or actually what about these guys...


L-R: Primark (£6 in sale), Dorothy Perkins (£15 in sale), Matalan (can't remember!)
Note to all: I am of course still in the market for big heels, there are plenty of times I’m out without The Person. However, with a limited budget, I need to try and find heels that I can get plenty of wear out of.

Extra note to all: Why yes, yes I do have freakishly long toes.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Groupon? Never again.

Part of me feels bad writing this post and the other part of me thinks that actually I’d be doing you people a disservice by not telling you about my experience because I’ll feel bad if you have a similar experience to mine.

I know that people have had great experiences with Groupon – Hayley for one (her link will explain much more clearly exactly what Groupon is for those of you who don't know), but I will absolutely 100%, never use them again after my experiences with them. And believe me I’m not giving up on them easily – you know they say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?” Well what do you say when you’ve been fooled four times? Yes that’s right. I’m that much of a glutton for punishment.

Debacle Number 1.
Culture Friend and I book a deal a spa in Leeds, deciding to make a nice day of it. Get a massage and a facial, have a manicure and pedicure, be ladies who lunch. Lovely. Train tickets are booked. Appointment is cancelled at the last minute. Money on train tickets is lost. New train tickets are booked. We arrive at what is essentially a joke of a salon – run by 12 year olds who inform us that we won’t actually be getting what we paid for. We ended up refusing to have anything done.

Conclusion: We're not sure whether or not to blame this one on the salon although have to wonder about how much research Groupon does on the companies it does business with. Also Groupon have obviously failed to advertise the deal correctly.

Debacle Number 2.
Culture Friend and I (we really are morons) book another spa type deal with another salon in Leeds. Culture Friend drives this time. Despite the deal saying it was available 7 days a week, when we ring they inform us that they can't do Saturdays so we arrange to go on a Sunday instead.

People at the spa say that they have had a bit of a problem with the deal. Basically Groupon did not inform them that a limit could be set on the number of deals sold, meaning that basically too many deals were booked, meaning it was almost impossible to fit everybody in.

So not a huge debacle, but it set off warning sirens in our heads. The spa by the way was lovely and I would highly recommend it, wish it was closer to Hull.

Conclusion: Ok experience, great spa, but again, worries about Groupon on the way it does business. Also again it didn't advertise the deal properly.

Debacle Number 3
An offer appears for a restaurant in Hull, just down the road for me. It’s a 2 course meal for 2 and a glass of wine each for £15 or something like that. The restaurant is lovely and I think it’d be a nice thing to do when The Person next comes to Hull. I check the small print and it says that the offer is available 7 days a week. Good stuff.

I ring the restaurant to book a table to be told that they won’t accept that voucher on Fridays or Saturdays and that they had told Groupon that but they hadn’t put that on the website.

Then begins what can only be described as an ordeal to get my refund within the 7 days of purchase. E-mails go unanswered. At one point I was left on hold for 20 minutes trying to get through on the phone. When I eventually did get through to someone they were almost unbearably rude, before putting me on hold for a further 10 minutes before refunding my account.

Conclusion: Totally Groupon's fault. Didn't advertise the deal properly.

Debacle Number 4
I know. I can’t believe I got this far either.

There’s a voucher for a cut and colour at a salon down the road from me. My greys are taking over my head and I’ve a wedding coming up so I thought I’d book myself in before that. Deal is booked. Appointment is made. All is good. Until a friend on Facebook commented that the salon was now calling everyone to cancel the Groupon appointments.

I ring the salon and they confirm to say that they’re really sorry but they haven’t received payment from Groupon so can’t afford to honour the deals. Groupon apparently hadn’t told them they could put a limit on the number of deals sold (see Debacle Number 2).

My fury has now reached incredible proportions. I can’t get away from the fact that every single one of these is down to a huge failing on the part of Groupon either by not advertising the deal correctly or failing to communicate effectively with the businesses it is dealing with.

I have sent an e-mail requesting a refund on the latest deal and funnily enough, I’ve yet to hear anything.

I think 4 times is way way way more than enough times for me to say with all confidence that I shall not be using Groupon ever again. Even I’m not that stupid.

Obviously you are all big enough and clever enough to make up your own minds and I know that some of you will have had great experiences with Groupon, but for me personally, four debacles is four too many and I personally won't risk it again. If only to save my own pride. I just think that it's appropriate that everyone shares their experiences, rather than just the good.

Looks too good to be true?

It is.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Gambler

This weekend I went to see The Person. Have I ever told you how annoying long distance relationships are? No? Well they are. The last time I saw him was when I ran the Race for Life. 3 whole weeks ago. Rubbish.

It was The Person’s birthday last week so I was going down laden with presents. Wrapped in Lego wrapping paper. And I got him a Batman birthday card. Did I mention he was 29?

Saturday was going to see a first for me. We would be visiting Haydock Park racecourse. For what better way to celebrate being 29 than throwing all your money away? It was a first time for both of us although I think it’s safe to say our levels of excitement were fairly different on the way there.

You see, I’m just not a gambler. I’m too boring sensible. I cannot wrap my head around why you would throw your money away on a bet. It’s like standing on the street, feeding £10 notes into the grate and letting it flow down the sewer. I go to the casino and stand there wanting to weep as people lose hundreds of pounds – you don’t want that hundred pounds? That’s fine, but I beg of you, give it to me, don’t give it to the croupier! I went to Vegas and still couldn’t pluck up the courage to gamble. I was eventually persuaded to go on a slot machine and came out $1.50 up thank you very much. But proper gambling? Can’t get my head around it.

The Person was much more excited about it. Obviously, it was his idea. He’d bought his racing post. He’d watched videos about betting online. He was prepared.

I begrudgingly put £10 aside to have a gamble with. Once it was gone then I’d be done gambling for the day and I was ok with that.

The Fashion
We were in the Tattersalls Enclosure which is a pretty good place to be. Not the totally cheap end of the scale but not the super fancy enclosure either. This enclosure doesn’t have a dress code which meant there was a whole spectrum of outfits to gawp at from people dressed in their scruffs to people poured in to lycra bodycon.

And the shoes. Oh the shoes. Now you know me, I like a good heel but some of these women were walking around with elaborate pieces of scaffolding strapped to their ankles. I have no idea how they were doing it. And indeed, by the end of the day, they weren’t doing it, they were gingerly walking over the gravel of the car park, holding their shoes in their hands.

The Betting
Apparently we weren’t there to pass judgement on other women but to place money on horses. The Person had read his Racing Post, looked at the Racing Card and carefully selected his winner. I perused the list and went “Hahahahahahahaha. That horse is called Rent Free. I wish I lived Rent Free. I’m going to bet on that one.” Off I toddled to the tote and put my bet on.

(Aside. Why do they say that it’s a £2 minimum bet if you’re betting each way and then charge you £4? Surely that means the minimum bet is £4? Why do they make it so confusing?!)

The other reason Tattersalls Enclosure is good is that you’re pretty close to the finishing line. Excitement is abound as you watch the horses on the big screen, flicking your gaze between it and the little brown dots on the other side of the course. Then they get closer. And closer. And people start getting louder. And louder. And then BOOM they’ve gone past you and you’re so over-excited and they’re running so bloody fast and you don’t have your glasses on so you actually have no idea which horse came first.

So you can imagine the scream that came out of my ever so delicate gob when I realised that Rent Free won the race. Not 2nd, not 3rd. 1st. And the odds? 16-1. Off I skipped to the booth and came back with a very large grin on my face after the lady handed me £35 back. Hurrah.

The Person’s horse came in last.

This was good. I could now use my winnings to play and I wouldn’t be ‘wasting’ money as such. The next race featured a horse that had the same surname as my sister. Obviously I should bet on it. So I did and it came in 2nd. My head nearly fell off at that point although I was rather disappointed to discover that I only made 40p on that bet. Gutted.

The Person’s horse refused to enter its stall at the beginning of the race.

I quit while I was ahead at that point and my luck did actually run out – I placed a couple more bets but didn’t win anything but I still came out with £27 (and let’s not forget the 40p) which I was pleased with. And don't feel bad, The Person did eventually win in the end (but not as much as me. Just saying.).

The alcohol
Obviously I didn’t come out up overall because I drank copious amounts of alcohol throughout the day. Please note I was not drunk. I was not one of the people requiring medical attention by the end of the day. I did not get so drunk I took most of my clothes off. I did not get so drunk I fell over and cracked my head open. All of which were antics I saw. It's beyond me why you would pay £22 to get into the races and then get plastered on very expensive alcohol and finish your day in hospital – you can do that for much much less money in town!

The alcohol is expensive but if you’ve been to a gig, it won’t make you raise your eyebrows too much. It’s just one of those things you have to suck up and get on with.

The conclusion
- To conclude the races is actually a pretty good day out but not that much fun when you’re not betting and even less fun when you’re losing.
- But it might be worth the entrance fee alone just to see some of the sights.
- Have a walk around at the beginning to scope things out, that way you won’t realise right at the end of the day that you could have been in the paddock seeing the horses a little closer – damnit.
- The Racing Post is not that helpful, it had predicted the winners of 6 of the 8 races and didn’t get a single one right. Much better to follow my tip of picking ones with funny names.*

*I accept no responsibility for the loss of money if you follow this method of betting

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Betwixt and between

My blogging is likely to get sporadic over the next few weeks and for that I apologise.

You see at the moment I appear to be neither here nor there.

As you may remember, I’ve been house-sitting for my Dad since the beginning of May which has been awesome. Dad and his wife are due back towards the end of August and I have contemplated not giving them their house back but have decided, on reflection, that that’s probably unfair.

It’s going to hard giving up Sky Plus and super speedy dongle-less internet though...

Meanwhile, Dorothy has gone away on a little jolly, meaning that there are two furry people who need someone to look after them. (Not to mention another house.)

Luckily for me, both houses are only 10 minutes away from each other, otherwise things would be much more difficult

Obviously I don’t want to leave either house empty – especially home because it’s not fair on the Maggie and Maudster to be on their own. I know cats aren’t like dogs but they like company. If you don’t believe me, you should hear the racket from Maggie when I walk back in the house.

My ever so canny solution to this problem was to move half my wardrobe back from my Dad’s house to home, meaning that whenever I feel like it, I can spend a night at either house and not worry that I won’t have any clothes to put on in the morning.

I know. I’m clever. Don’t hate me for it.

I duly did this and set myself out a little timetable, a couple of nights in one house, a couple of nights in the other, making sure I see Maggie and Maud at least once a day.

However I forgot one fairly major fact. The fact that I cannot cope with being in between places. The last time I was in between places was when I first moved in with Dorothy and half my stuff (like a bed and wardrobe) were still the place I shared with the boyfriend. This caused my brain to go into near meltdown because I’m a little nester. I make a place my own within 2 minutes of being in it, hence why my whole wardrobe came over to my Dad’s in the first place – it’s just easier on my little head.

Just the thought of being between places and working out the schedule in my head has caused at least a Defcon 2 panic situation, meaning that this weekend I shall mostly be moving everything back to my house and then just taking an overnight bag with me on the occasions that I stay at my Dad’s.

Much better solution although it’s still making me wig out a little bit. When that happens I lose all ability to be able to think coherently which means that my blogging suffers somewhat (yes believe it or not, this is me thinking coherently). I need to know I have my own little space you see. So expect things to be a little quiet round here until the end of August/beginning of September when I finally find myself back in one place.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Baby Shower

Life feels a little strange at the moment. I feel like I'm betwixt and between - leaving a younger me behind and edging slowly towards a more 'adulthood'. This was demonstrated best by the past couple of weekends I've had. One saw me go out for a few drinks after work that resulted in me getting home at 4am and the next saw me organising and throwing a baby shower for my friend. See what I mean? It's all a bit confusing.

This friend has been pretty awesome throughout her pregnancy as I've told you before. She might actually be the nicest kindest person I know, I've never heard her say a bad word about anyone, she never complains, never moans and is just generally marvellous.

So a person like that obviously deserves a baby shower. Another friend and I decided it should be a surprise baby shower (because it's always fun to surprise heavily pregnant women I find) and enlisted the help of her Mum, who wanted to be part of the day.

We divided and conquered. My friend's Mum wanted to host and do all the food so that left me and the other friend to be in charge of decorations and party games and inviting other people. We only had a couple of weeks to get organised so we were quick and decisive and efficient, three of my very favourite things.

We met one night after work and got creative. We wanted to make bunting but quickly and on the cheap - enter lots of coloured paper and some string, scissors and sellotape. Very soon we had us some flipping marvellous looking bunting. Fabric would be awesome and everything, but I seriously think this stuff looks pretty good, don't you?

We also made other little bits to put up. Another banner to hang up which says "Squib" which is what the baby it being called in utero. More coloured paper, scissors and pritt stick with ribbon to thread through and extra embellishments came from a spare bit of border from when my friend decorated her baby's bedroom.

And finally a washing line made up of some baby clothes, which looked brilliant hung up beneath the table that held all the food and the nappy cake that my friend made - a 2 tier cake of nappies, bibs, baby lotion and other baby-related bits and bobs.

Decorations done we moved on to sorting out the games to be played. We had an initially excellent idea that we would play pin the nappy on the baby. It remained an excellent idea up until the point where we realised that neither of us could draw a baby. Or a nappy for that matter. So we came up with the next best thing...

Hell's yeah. I had a great time one afternoon and evening, drawing and cutting out lots of sperm and drawing happy faces on them. This was not to just be a fun game however, it was also going to be educational. You might be able to see in the picture above that sperm have Xs and Ys written on them.

Here comes the science bit for those of you who don't remember your GCSE biology. Those spermy boys are either made of X chromosomes or Y chromosomes. The egg is an X chromosome so the sex of your baby will depend on which spermy guy gets through - an X and you have a boy, a Y and you have a girl.

So we would be having fun but also potentially guessing the sex of the baby. Fun and educational? Sign me up!

We also asked everyone to bring in a baby photo of themselves so we could play a little guess who game. This became a completely random guessing game as it was virtually impossible to tell who was who from their baby photos. Apart from two exceptions - the older ladies at the shower whose baby photos were in black and white, and yours truly who really hasn't changed all that much in 27 years...

The final game you will be pleased I don't have photos of. This game was most certainly not my idea because I don't have the strongest of stomachs. There were 5 nappies prepared and in each of those nappies was a different melted chocolate see where I'm going with this one? Have you already pulled a face and gone "Eurgh!" You are more than forgiven because I felt the same.

But it was actually pretty good fun, although I sucked at it because chocolate bars are not my forte. Although the Malteser one was pretty easy to guess.

Games over and prizes given out to those who won it was time for presents. I was looking forward to this bit because this was the moment that I would proudly hand over the Jungle Ripple blanket to my friend. I wanted to push my present to the front but I held back and passed over some other presents. The first present my friend opened made my heart sink a little bit. It was the most beautiful knitted shawl, which had been made by an old family friend. I wish I'd taken a picture of it actually because it really was lovely, very traditional, in white, lovely stitches.

It made me want to cry a little bit.

They say that pride comes before a fall and here was my fall. I wanted to push the Jungle Ripple blanket under the table and not let her open it, next to this beautiful shawl it looks garish and amateurish and very inelegant. But before I could think of a way of disposing it, my friend was opening it.

She thought it was brilliant and came up to me later to say how much she loved it, because it was bright and colourful and that it would most definitely be used and that she really appreciated the effort I'd gone to. I still felt a little subdued and rightly so. Lesson learned. Don't be smug.

All in all it was a huge success. She was duly surprised and her waters didn't break which was a bonus. Now we just have to wait until around the 20th August when Squib is due to arrive...

Monday, 1 August 2011

July Flickr Favourites

July has been a funny old month. On the one hand it seems to have lasted forever and ever and ever, but on the other hand I'm left feeling a little stunned and surprised that it's August already.

Before you know it, people are going to start mentioning that C-word - I'm just putting out a warning. If you craft, you have to start thinking of the C-word from about now. Well you do if you're painfully slow at stuff like me.

But enough of that, let's pretend that December is still ages away and look back at my favourites from July.

2nd July - See this is what I mean, did this really take place only a month ago? It feels like a gazillion years ago. This was such a lovely day, it's not often I get to the sea and not often enough that I get to spend time with my sister, brother-in-law and nephews so this was a great big day of awesomeness. Plus I just really love this photograph, the sandy shoes with the sea in the background, it just sums up the day nicely.

6th July - I haven't really been able to tell you about this because it's a work-related thing and I want to try and keep as much anonymity as possible, but I am part of a mentoring scheme that has seen me paired up with a child from a local primary school. The rationale is that we are there to support these kids as they transition from primary to secondary school, they're from fairly vulnerable backgrounds so we're there as an extra bit of support. On 6th July some of us mentors accompanied the class on a trip to London. I was there when they were told they were going to London and I got pretty choked up seeing their excitement, for most of them this was the first time they'd ever been to London and it was a really big deal for them. This day was knackering, we walked about 10 miles in all, but the kids coped with it really well and loved it. Amazing experience.

12th July - I love that I work in the centre of town. This week was Graduation week and all the graduates from the University of Hull gather right in the middle of town before and after their ceremony in the City Hall. I was on my lunch break and happened across these guys and these are the times that I am so pleased that I constantly carry my camera around with me. I snapped this photo and luckily managed to get them as they threw their hats up in the air, I just love this photo. Also I wish I was student again.

17th July - You all know about this, today was the day that I ran the Race for Life and was very proud of myself.

27th July - Ha and this month I made a whole blanket! Admittedly only for a small person, although it would have made a nice little lap blanket for a bigger person. I felt very pleased with myself, I wouldn't have thought a couple of years ago that I would have been able to do this so it felt like a pretty big achievement. See the post about the finished Jungle Ripple blanket here.

31st July - And this was the day that I got to give the Jungle Ripple blanket to its recipient at a baby shower we held for my friend yesterday, I promise I will tell you about this in a post later this week. It was lovely although it didn't half feel weird having a baby shower for one of my best friends, when did I start growing up?!


As always you can keep up with my progress by checking out my Flickr photoset.