Monday, 30 July 2012

Arty Farty

Serious blog neglect has occurred. To be fair I have been on Guide camp for the past week with no internet but I will admit, I did mean to do a post about my holiday in Devon before I left...and I didn't...oops.

So I went to The Manor House Hotel in Okehampton, Devon with my mum, sister, Grandma and Grandad. Mum was already down in Devon and Gma and Gdad were driving down so Cari and I got up early on the Sunday (yes this was the day straight after Guilfest!) and caught trains from Woking to Exeter to Okehampton. Predictably, I slept most of the way!

We stayed from Sunday to Friday. The Manor House Hotel is a sports and crafts hotel and is amazing fun! Here are some things I got up to:
Holding an owl in falconry

Pottery transfers

Bisque painting (recognise the car?)
Candle making- the one on the right was made from a pre-made white candle, the one on the left was started from scratch with just the wick

Rifle shooting

Friday, 20 July 2012

Mud glorious mud!

Sorry for the lack of recent posts but I am on holiday! More on that to come!

Last weekend Cari and I spent the day at Guilfest. It is a big musical festival in Guildford and this year we were particularly excited to see Olly Murs, Cher Lloyd and Tim Minchin.

We arrived by train, with the torrential rain stopping just as we arrived. We went to Stoke Park, where the festival is held and the closer we got to the main entrance, the deeper the mud got. It was like soup, watery and sloshy and pretty soon we were covered. We got in quickly and had a look around before stopping at one of the many (and I mean many) food stands to get lunch. We ended up choosing some Thai noodles (vegi for me and chicken for C) but it took a while to choose as there was everything from Indian to Foot Long Hot Dogs to Roast served in a giant Yorkshire pud! Then followed cake in the vintage tent, fun making superhero capes in the Kids' Zone, checking out the disabled platforms at the Main Stage and the Good Time Guide Stage (nice and spacious with a great view!), ice creams and massages at the Eden People tent.

We arrived at the platform in plenty of time to see Cher Lloyd but due to people getting bogged down in the mud the disabled platform was completely full! We waited until some people came off and then gradually worked our way forward on the platform as people left. Eventually we had a good view! Cher was good, very entertaining and lots of fun.

We went and saw Caroline's friends at the St John's Ambulance Station, had a yummy dinner of organic salads and ice cream and then went and saw Tim Minchin. He was absolutely hilarious as always! We expected to see Tulisa on the main stage but apparently she was ill. Finally it was time for the one we'd all been waiting for...Olly Murs! We huddled in the rain, dancing along and screaming at the top of our voices.

We got home around 1.00am and I spent the next 45 minutes or so cleaning the caked mud off of the wheelchair. In the end I resorted to using the hose with the chair on our front porch. After all that it still wasn't anywhere near clean but was a right sight better than it had been!

It was an amazing afternoon/evening and I can't wait for next year!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Having a ball

On Saturday evening we had our Leavers' Ball. This is held at school and started off with a champagne reception for us and our parents. Normally this part is held out in a beautiful area of school called the Rose Garden but as the weather was very unpredictable this year and it was raining on and off, it was held in the Upper Atrium of the new Anniversary Halls.

In the afternoon I went to the hairdressers with my mum to get my updo done. I felt like an absolute princess.  My dress was bought and altered at Maureen's in Cranleigh and I absolutely love it.

When we stepped out of our taxi at school there were professional photographers there to snap us looking pretty. I had a picture on my own and then with my parents. We all mingled at the reception, darting outside to take lots of pictures whenever the rain held off long enough. We had a traditional group photograph with all the girls, parents and teachers, outside before the parents got in minibuses and headed off to a ball that had been organised for them by some parents.

Meanwhile all the girls and teachers headed into the dining hall which had been transformed. Our Ball Committee had decided upon an Enchanted Fairytale theme and had beautifully decked out the hall with flowers, tealights in jamjars, and little butterflies. The entrances were gorgeous arches of flowers with little toadstools all around them.
All of the tables had enchanted names, I was on Leprachaun. We were served dinner and I wasn't sure how I was going to manage but I did really well. I ate everything except the bread and mozzarella off my started (I still don't do cheese) and the little chocolate leaf off my pudding. We had a salad to start, vegetarians had sweet potato risotto with dauphinoise  potatoes and roasted vegetables for main and butterscotch tart with strawberries for pudding.

After dinner and some good old chitchat, the lights were switched off and the disco lights came on. We all made our way to the dance floor and had a whale of a time. The DJ was pretty good, he played lots of recent, well-known songs. The evening really got started when he played Call Me Maybe- no one can resist singing along and jumping to that! We had a very entertaining evening, watching some of the teachers who had perhaps enjoyed the wine a little too much dancing crazily with each other and, in the case of our headmistress, with some of the young men who had come. We danced for several hours, taking a few breaks for fresh air because it was BOILING!

Eventually, the final song played and the lights came back on. People piled into minibuses because we were all going off to join our parents and then enjoy more dancing at one girl's house. When we arrived we had to dash in through the torrential rain, receiving pink wristbands to show that we were allowed to be there. I met up with my parents and my Dad asked me for a dance, thinking that I would flatly refuse. To his surprise I jumped at the chance-what can I say, I'm a Daddy's girl! We went up to the barn where heavy music and strobe lights were in full swing. There was a great atmosphere, with all of us enjoying our limited time left together.

Eventually my parents and I returned home after a brilliant evening. I absolutely loved getting all dressed off but most of all I enjoyed the company-my friends are an AMAZING bunch of people.
My Dad and I
My Mum and I

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Emma Ducklings

Emmanuel College, Cambridge is famous for it's ducks. When I was up there I had rather a lot of fun taking pictures of the gorgeous little ducklings. Here are just a few:

Aren't they sweet?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Came to Cambridge

Mum and I got up early Sunday morning so that we could drive to Cambridge and spend the day with Caroline and Alex. I am staying up here with Caroline until Friday. Predictably I slept all the way until my Mum woke me up because there were traffic cones across the road which blocked us off from where we were meant to park. I sat in the car being useless while Mum went off to find someone in charge. After a while she came back, picked up the cones and drove straight through. She assured me she had permission...

The four of us went out on a guided punt which took us down the river past all of the colleges that back onto the river (Kings, Clare, Trinity, St Johns) and under the famous bridges (Clare Bridge, Mathematical Bridge, The Bridge of Sighs). The weather held out and it was really relaxing and very interesting!

We then went out into the Emmanuel gardens and sat by the pond having a picnic. We were quickly encircled by ducks of all varieties, looking longingly at our food. Mostly it was slightly annoying but there was a very cute moment when one of the very young, very fluffy ducklings got a little lost and ended up in the middle of our picnic rug. After a quick nibble at my fingers it found its way back to its family.

In the afternoon we went to John Lewis and invested in some Olympic attire. We also went to Build A Bear to pick up some Olympic wear for our bear (a picture will come at some point!) That evening we all went out to ASK Italian. It was quite a treat for Alex as she is a coeliac so doesn't normally get pasta but they had gluten-free pasta. She experienced her first ever Pasta Bolognese! For pudding I had a delicious pistachio gelato- one of the best I've ever tasted!
Alex and Mum left to go home and me and Caz enjoyed an evening watching some Fawlty Towers.

On Monday, Caz and I had a little lie in before getting up and heading over to the Grafton shopping centre. We spent our morning shopping, buying quite a few new things, and had lunch in Debenhams. In the afternoon we went to see Snow White and The Huntsman. It was amazing! We ate dinner in hall, which is always a fun experience, even when it's not Formal Hall. That evening we snuggled up to watch Cheaper By The Dozen, the perfect way to relax with a few giggles thrown in.

On Tuesday we headed off to the market after breakfast and got ourselves some mango fruit drinks. After looking around there a bit we headed to a bookstore but found it a little wheelchair-unfriendly so we wandered around a bit looking for a music store that Caz had once stumbled across. After a little searching we found it and Caz hurried me in, desperate to show me something. Not long later, we walked out of the shop, the proud new owners of a bright yellow ukelele! She has been christened Emmanuelle, nickname Emma after a certain college!We came back to hall for lunch and I then spent the afternoon having a jamming session and going for a run around Parker's Piece while Caz had an appointment. We then headed out for an afternoon ice cream (this has become a sort of tradition and quite a good test for me!).
We wandered around King's Parade, finding out when the college and chapel would be open and generally mooching around. We had dinner in hall again and then Caz headed out to a meeting whilst I had great fun, judging the Olympic mascots that the Brownies had designed. 

Wednesday was a day of adventures. We got up and headed over to the Grafton Centre as we needed a few more things for the Brownies and we wanted to go into an amazing shop called Evolution which has the cutest little random things ever! We sat in Costa for a while, me freezing my brain off with a Mango and Passionfruit Cooler and Caz enjoying a patriotic Gingerbread man (his buttons were Union Flags!) before going into a dress shop to try on some outrageous frocks and have a good laugh. Unfortunately the fitting room lady was grumpy and wouldn't let us take pictures :( We then hit up Poundland, getting supplies like paper plates, before going off to have lunch in Debenhams once again. I had recently bought Caroline a Wreck This Journal so we had good fun completing a couple of the activities in there. We headed outside and Caz went to Argos while I went in to Whittards. As I was browsing through their tea selection I noticed a policeman and security guard standing outside with the women from the dress shop fitting room. They were pointing at me. 

The policeman came in and asked me to step outside with him. My first thought was "Oh my Gosh, what has happened to my sister?!" but as he started to speak I realised that she was not the issue here. Apparently some dresses had gone missing from the shop and the lady thought it was us. The security guard had been trailing us all around the centre apparently (we'd obviously be great secret agents with our great observation). Another policeman had by this point brought Caroline over and we were both subjected to a search in the middle of the street. Thankfully they found nothing and we were cleared but we were not really in the mood for shopping any more. We rushed back for a cup of tea-it always seems to make things better! 

I think we can both safely say that our hearts have had their exercise for the day. It was a seriously stressful experience and I am just looking forward to a time where this will be nothing but a funny story to tell!

Monday, 2 July 2012

A little bit of beauty

I'm staying with my amazing sister up in Cambridge at the moment and having a wicked time. But more on that tomorrow! For now I'll just leave you with something a little enchanting. My Dad called me out to the garden early in the morning last week and this is what I found:

It's incredible how something so small can create such awe inspiring beauty.