Monday, March 11, 2013

Rocking February - plus Year of Firsts update

So here we are again with a roundup of what rocked my world last month, and also how I'm getting along with my Year of Firsts:

Blimey it was a rubbish month weather-wise, wasn't it?  Either freezing cold, or raining, or both.  Ugh.  But we tried not to let that get in the way of having fun.

For a start we've been doing a lot of hockeying - when you are stuck inside an ice rink anyway you don't really care what the weather is like outside :)

We have done our usual thing of realising that the season is nearly over and that we are going to miss it loads, so we have gone to a couple of away games this month as well as our regular home games, in a last minute frenzy :)

And as one of those away games was in Manchester, I have now completed my goal of seeing a game at every rink in our league, which is kind of cool - I think I deserve a badge for that.

And in other sporting news - the lovely ladies of Wiltshire Roller Derby had their first ever public home bout this month, and I was lucky enough to be invited along to take photos for the team.

They played really well, vs the Kernow Rollers, and were leading for most of the game, but right near the end our Cornish foes got a late boost of energy and managed to JUST pip us at the post.  The final score was 178 to 173.

The following weekend we had a very short holiday - otherwise known as one night in a cheap Travelodge in Manchester :) We had a brilliant time - who needs a fortnight in the Caribbean??

On the Saturday we were up bright and early and on the road by 8, arriving in central Manchester at 11-ish.  First stop was the Manchester Art Gallery.

Saw lots of incredibly inspiring art there, including a major exhibition by Raqib Shaw, plus the kids had fun recreating some old masters:

After lunch in the gallery (lush!) and a mooch around Chinatown, we drove out to Old Trafford for the Manchester United stadium tour.  I'm not even particularly interested in football but I found the tour really interesting, and the boys (old and young) loved it

We topped off the Saturday night with a walk into town and dinner at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen by the canal.  Manchester city centre on a Saturday night was a real eye opener for the boys - I don't think they had ever seen so many loud drunks and scantily dressed girls before :)

Next morning we had a yummy buffet breakfast at the hotel, and then headed to the Trafford Centre to go to the indoor Legoland there.  My my, that's one posh shopping centre!  It's like a slightly obscene and very over the top temple to opulence and excessive consumption:

Legoland was fun but probably more suited to younger children, as our big strapping lads were too big and old for some of the rides.  We did enjoy making our own cars to race though, and the 4D movie, and the miniland with scale models of lots of Northern landmarks we have visited, like Blackpool Tower and Alton Towers, and of course Old Trafford.

After Legoland we wandered over to the food court (if you have never seen the food court at the Trafford Centre, you HAVE to go, I've never seen anything like it, it's what I imagine Las Vegas is like, but with more Mancunians :) )

And there at Nandos we met up with my best friend from school, Sarah (yes another Sarah, there were 5 Sarahs in our class at one point!  common as muck name!) and her two lovely kiddies.  It was SO good to see her for the first time in over 20 years.  I was so excited that I forgot to take a photo of us together.  Doh!

Next we were going to go to MOSI (the Museum of Science and Industry) but we had left it too late to really do it justice, so instead we went to have a nose at Manchester City's stadium (just for the sake of balance) (and because Connor supports them  )

And then it was on to Altrincham for the ice hockey.  Which we lost.  Oops. But never mind, I was just happy to have finally ticked off the full set of EPL rinks.

We got home late Sunday night tired but happy after a brilliant weekend.

And our final adventure for February happened the following day.  The kids were back at school but Jay and I had a day off work, so we went out to Corsham near Chippenham to the derelict Naval site that is there, abandoned and now covered in graffiti.

It was amazing, and huge!  we were there over three hours and still didn't see it all.

Thankfully we didn't get apprehended and evicted by any MOD patrols....

There are over 100 more photos here if you fancy a proper look

Other Fab Feb happenings:
  • I got to see my friends' little boy play in goal (hockey again) for the first time, as his under-10s team did a short demo game at our local rink - he's going to be a star in years to come, watch this space
  • The week before their first home bout mentioned above, my Wiltshire Roller Derby girls got their first ever win in Milton Keynes - and with a short team of only 8 skaters too - well done ladies!!
  • Baltimore won the Superbowl - go Ravens!
(February seems to have been sporty month!)
  • I'm getting back into reading in a big way thanks to the Artful Readers Club.  I'm even finding myself wanting to make artwork to accompany the other books I'm reading outside of the challenge!  (watch this space)
  • Connor had a brilliant day out at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London with his school.  I don't remember school trips being that fab when I was a kid...
  • Visiting friends - I had a CJ to pick up from my pal Pam and as she only lives about 40 minutes away I went over to collect it one Saturday morning, it was fab to sit in her craft room and look at all the lovely art on her walls and have a good old natter.  The internet is great and everything but you can't beat a good old fashioned real life catch up.
  • An impromptu trip to the Stamp Attic in Wantage and resulting major spend up suggested by Jay one day when I was feeling a bit fed up.  Retail therapy makes everything better :)  Especially when it includes a Gelli Plate!  Yes, I've finally climbed on that particular bandwagon and am pleased I did - gelli-printing is so much fun!  
  • Eventually got my Pure Evil print in a frame after finding a perfectly sized (and perfectly priced!) frame at the Range.  It still hasn't actually made it onto the wall yet, but I'm getting there....

  • Connor and I took a punt on the Qwertee random t-shirt sale.  It's really good fun waiting for your shirts to turn up with no idea what you're going to get.  I got a nice art nouveau type design and Connor got this brilliant Monty Python one:   I think we'll play again next time.
  • Good telly - this month I particularly enjoyed Utopia,  Black Mirror and Ripper Street.  And I also finally got to the end of Season 3 of Fringe (which is the point at which a lot of people apparently went right off it but I still think it's fab).  Only two more seasons to go.
  • Talking of Fringe - I got mine back!  After attempting to grow my hair out to one length for a year, I finally had had enough of it blowing in my face on windy days and generally being all rat-tailed and horrid, so I had my hair cut and had my fringe cut back in.  I can seeeeeeee!!!!  Hooray :D

  • Connor got a shout out online from his favourite artist - El Pez - it made his day:

This month's firsts - big and small, they all count:

10) After last month's 'trying a different type of bread roll' triumph, I tried ANOTHER new type of roll.  This time, it wasn't very nice :( ah well, you win some you lose some.

11) Used my airbrush machine for the first time, it's awesome, I need to practice with it more though to really get the hang of it

12) Photographed my first open-to-the-public roller derby bout.  It's harder with people in the way!

13) I ALWAYS get exactly the same dinner whenever we have a Chinese takeaway.  This time I chose something different.  It was almost but crucially not quite as nice as what I usually have.  This experiment isn't working as well as I hoped :)

14) First time partaking in the Qwertee random t-shirt lottery

15) First time using the gelli-plate for monoprinting - SO MUCH FUN

16) First visit to Manchester Legoland 

17) First time doing a behind-the-scenes football stadium tour

18) First time visiting the home rink of the Manchester Phoenix in Altrincham

19) First visit to the Manchester Art Gallery

20) First time eating in Nandos.  Yum!!!

21) First time trespassing on MOD property!

So that's 21 of my 100 firsts already achieved and we are only 2 months into the year - slightly ahead of the pace - good stuff!


Joanna said...

Phew! I'm exhausted just reading this post ;) You have been SO busy with fab exciting stuff and you make me feel quite sedentary!

I really enjoyed reading your post with all of it 'firsts'!


Jez said...

Just reading about your busy life leaves me out of breath, but it sounds like great fun, and a lot of togetherness for the whole family .... And lots of memories to treasure.
Those graffiti paintings are marvellous, I wish I could have seen them. Great post to read.

Virginia said...

I must admit like Joanna I'm exhausted reading that list, you have had a jam packed - no I say again JAM PACKED month! Loving your list of first, the visit to the MOD property, legoland football stadiums, ice hockey, food out, hair cuts - all fabulous stuff and loved reading every single moment! Can't wait for this month's instalment!

Natasha said...

Such a fabulous month!! I love the street art you share. LOVE! You have been so busy! I have going to see derby girls on my wish list. So much goodness here to comment on, it is all wonderful, but your new hairstyle looks gorgeous. :)

My son would be very jealous you went to legoland, he was googling something a month ago and discovered legoland and became obsessed!!

Lisa said...

Lots of neat photos here. You are certainly busy!