Friday, 25 April 2014

High Five for Friday

1. I found troll figures all over Norway thought it would be a wasted opportunity if I didn't embarrassingly pose with one.

2. These shoes were my friend and foe during my Norway trip. They were comfortable, warm, waterproof and went with everything, yet really hurt my feet by the last day. I haven't worn them since coming home because I can't bring myself to put them on again. Okay, feet aren't exciting, moving on...

3. This yacht was one of the poshest in the marina. While eating lunch this tiny dog strutted up on deck wearing his life vest. Classy dog. 

4. My new cookbook will teach me how to be a complete Asian cookery hero! I watched their series on TV this Spring and really looking forward to trying out some of these delicious recipes.

5. We had such a great Easter weekend away in Bergen with friends. We're not really a photo crazy couple so it's a pretty great day when we manage to get a good shot together! 

Norway Part 2

Saturday we were up early to catch our day tour of the Fjords from the local train station. We went through Norway in a Nutshell and chose the day long Fjord and mountain train tour.

Essentially this was a day of transport with little stops to browse the local area and take photos of the beautiful scenery. We took a local train to somewhere (not sure where) and from there a coach through the winding roads to Voss. At Voss we found our Fjords boat waiting for us. I'll let the photos of the Fjords do the talking because the beauty can't really be described with words.

After the Fjord cruise we went on the Flam Railway Line which is a world heritage mountain railway. Doesn't sound too exciting but the views were fantastic. We went all the way through a mountain range, some of the time on open track and other times through tunnels which were dug with hand picks in the 19th century. The historic line ends high on a mountain range which was deep with snow. 

The final journey, down the mountain and back to Bergen, was long and on a modern train. After all the fresh air and excitement most of us slept through this part of the day! 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Norway Part 1

Last week I went to Bergen Norway for the Easter weekend. Don't ask how a skiing holiday turned into a Norwegian city break because quite a few people already have and to be honest, I haven't a clue. One minute we were planning to ski, the next we were booking flights to Bergen!

Plane selfie: If you try and say "Bergen" when a photo is taken this is how ridiculous you look

We flew Friday afternoon after a delay and an unhealthy holiday snack in McDonalds. There were 9 of us in all from Church and it was great to get to know some people I haven't spent much time with before. Arriving in Bergen in the early evening and catching our transfer to the hostel, we ventured to the historic harbour to find some food.

We found this shop when searching for dinner 

The first thing which struck me was how expensive everything was! We ended up paying about double what we would in England for everything, from bottled drinks to food. The alcohol was astronomical so I didn't drink at all whilst away. Then again, we didn't see any drunk people at all so that was a plus to the expensive prices! I tried some reindeer soup and some chicken soup for dinner the first night and was nonplussed by it.

The Unesco World Heritage street...a.k.a. where we found the best food

Our hostel was Marken Guesthouse and it was genuinely the best hostel I've ever stayed in. The decor was fresh, the rooms, lounge, kitchen, toilets and showers were always clean and well stocked. The price was pretty good too! Definitely recommend to anyone visiting Bergen. We were split between three rooms but thankfully didn't have to share with anyone we didn't know. It was nice to have others to chat to in the lounge area though and we met people from all over the world.

The hostel from the outside. It was on the fourth floor and reachable by lift an ancient lift with a cage door

Thursday, 17 April 2014


I'd wanted to try Zumba for a long time but never really took the plunge and went to a class. I'm glad I finally did because it was an experience to laugh about for a while!

The official Zumba website states: "Shake, shake, shrink! The most fun and effective workout ever!" Well, that pretty much sold it to me.

I thought maybe it would be a little bit like a dance class where the instructor would teach the steps and we'd all give it a jolly good try. Nope. The music went on and like robots these women all started a dance routine that only they knew. It was like joining a dance troupe which had been practising for months without me. I was concentrating so much on the copying the steps from the person in front of me that I was always one beat behind and my weight distribution wasn't right for a lot of the moves. There were times when they walked back whilst I was still jumping forward and so many close calls with squishing ponytails and bright pink Lycra. I don't think I've ever felt so much like the elephant in the room.

Did I enjoy it? Well, despite the review above, yes I did. The music was great and even though I caught the instructor shaking her head at me, it was fun to be the quirky in her perfect class.

Will I go again? Sure will. If all they do is repeat the same dances week after week I figure I'll pick it up eventually. I mean, I have to right?

Next up: Aquafit. This will be a tricky one because the classes are always fully booked. I'm interested to know who goes and then gets out of the pool and immediately books the next class. Bit keen? The plan is to slip into the pool unnoticed and join in anyway (note: this plan will fail if they're all old and I'm quite obviously the young one).

(N.B. Being sly with these things isn't my forte I admit. I once slipped into a university physics lecture wearing heels and a dress - you can only imagine how much I stuck out in that room.)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Body Conditioning

In an effort to tone my body and prep for the upcoming bare all season, I've decided to drag encourage my friend to go to as many exercise classes as we can. I don't want to make any wild (read: stupid) claims that we'll try every class our gym offers because there are some which are just not at our level. That is, we're beginners and they're superstars. First up, body killing conditioning.

Here's a happy lady doing some sit-ups...this isn't me (google images)

We settled for the side of the studio where we couldn't see ourselves in the mirrors and we weren't at the back or at the front (not hiding yet not too eager). Silly us, the class instructor actually moved around and we all turned a lot which meant at times we were right at the front! The aerobics starters were great and really fun to do. You need no motivation for this class, just a sense of impending embarrassment if you can't keep going like everybody else. Then the mats came out and the weights which was what really hurt. The squats have killed my poor thighs and the weights work might have been too hard to handle. That said, I feel better for doing it and it was a complete body workout in an hour which is pretty neat if you're a busy person. 

When I was about 8 years old my family went on holiday to Kos. There was line dancing one night and lets just say that my brothers and I weren't the best on the group at co-ordination. One of the moves in the body conditioning class was a grapevine and it was ridiculously hard at a fast pace. There were times I wasn't going in the right direction and moving my arms in time with my legs, well you can forget that! Miranda viewers, I looked a little like her:
                                                                                                   (google images)

Next up: Zumba

Beach Beach Beach!

It's beach season again! Granted, it might not be bikini weather yet but it's perfect for walking and lying out in the sun. Add an ice cream into the mix and it's a brilliant beach trip. My closest coastline has pebbles, you've got to drive another 20 minutes for the sand. These pebbles are so painful to walk on in bare feet and the water isn't too welcoming nearby either, so if i'm wanting to swim in the sea I go a little further away to get the sand between my toes and where the water is  little cleaner. Sometimes though time is of the essence and there is no time to waste when making the most o a sunny day in Britain. Cue the pebble beach, beach huts, Toms, sunnies and ice cream to make the most of this Spring day.

All of these pics were taken at Hill Head Beach in Hampshire, England.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Marina Sundays

This past weekend was so beautiful across the south coast that I had to get out there and take some photos with my real camera (aka not an iphone!). Sunday afternoon we headed to Port Solent Marina and marvelled at the stunning boats and tanned in the sunshine.

This place is full of restaurants and also has a cinema. I've been on a date here last Autumn and it has such a nice atmosphere in the evening; so many twinkling lights. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Getting over it

When I prayed for a husband (on the rare occasions I did) I always asked for a man who would have similar hobbies to me so we could both enjoy doing them together. I particularly asked for a man who would like the more skilled sports such as climbing and sailing. Well, the climbing bit we've cracked as i've posted about before. The sailing bit was a bit of a surprise though as I always considered it a long shot to ask for someone who loved such a niche hobby. Don't underestimate God.

My guy LOVES sailing and I think even that's a bit of an understatement. Last summer we were a pretty new couple and didn't go together (his fear of frightening me away i think.) Then the winter months, well they're just not the best weather to go sailing in are they?! Secretly, I was dreading the day we went sailing together. What if I embarrassed myself? What if I got scared? What if I got sick? What if we argued? I was biding my time...

Middle of last week "let's go sailing together" came out of his mouth. Panic flooded through me and I tried desperately to think of ways to be busy. I was in a quandary really because I did want to get the first sail together nailed so I wouldn't be scared any more.  I agreed and Saturday rolled round too quick.

I got stuck in a drysuit, slipped up in the pebbles, made squawking noises inadvertently when I was scared and almost capsized the boat a couple of times. I also laughed, watched him as his face lit up when out on the water and challenged myself to stop being so difficult and just get over it.

We're going again soon. Thanks God!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Project Life

I don't know if you've seen my Pinterest tab over to the right of the screen there but I really like papercrafts. I'm talking cards, scrapbooks, photo albums. I'm not saying I'm good at them, just that I like trying to make something unique from a vague design on paper or in my mind's eye.

This week I discovered the concept of Project Life designed by Becky Higgins. Similar to the Smashbook idea, it's a easy method of scrapbooking those moments in life you'd rather not forget. You simply buy an album with slip pages and fill in those pages with either photos, memorabelia or a cute pre-made card you've filled out. There are tons of design cards out there and I found them at my local craft shop Hobby Craft. (Sneakily, I also found them on Ebay at a much lower cost.)

This is my next project! The Norwegian trip at Easter will be documented through the Project Life idea and i'll post on here when I'm doing it to share the progress with you all.

The freebies on the Project Life website are also worth taking a look at. I found these cute wallpapers for my tablet and phone and now I can't decide which ones to use. Choice spoils me but these four are my favourite.

High Five for Friday!

Well I think it's almost sorted now this whole new blog design malarky. It's been a mission and i'm the first to admit I had a whole lot of help from various people and of course the designer herself. She has the coolest shop on Etsy so if you're looking for a bit of a revamp of style for your blog check out her designs here. Back to Friday though because it's my favourite day of the working week!

1. I had a bit of a baking frenzy on Sunday and ended up baking a fruit loaf, a chocolate fudge cake and sultana/vanilla mini cupcakes with fudge icing and Malteasers. Not sure what happened there. Nesting hormones gone wild?! Who cares, if I do say so myself they all tasted amazing (I have actual tasters to back up this opinion too though...just to be certain). Here's the chocolate fudge cake...

2. One of the best things about my relationship with the boyfriend is that we share similar hobbies and can do them together sometimes. Not ALL the time obviously but it's great to share common joys in life. Tuesday we went climbing with some friends and took an obligatory selfie...of our feet though because let's face it, sweaty exercising faces aren't the greatest are they? My shoes are obviously the cute turquoise pair...

3. Not that this really pertains to my life but I found out you can breed a husky/retriever cross and they're just about the cutest pups out there. I want one. 

4.  I absolutely love spending time with friends, drinking coffee and eating something delicious. When the sun comes out and it's heat warms my skin that is even better. That's why this coffee date was full of laughs and a time of relaxing on a Saturday morning.

5. I saw these cute slippers in the Joules shop before Christmas but definitely wasn't going to pay 15 pounds for them...getting them for 4.50 was much better. While typing this I realise I don't have a pound sign on my keyboard...that's a little problematic. I also note this is another picture of my feet for which I apologise but I kinda like shoes so...

Have a great weekend!