Saturday, 25 June 2016

International Handstand Day!

Happy International Handstand Day! We've been getting all the kids at gymnastics this week to practice their handstands, but I almost forgot about it today... Anyway, to celebrate Wales winning their game today and qualifying to the Quarter Finals of Euro 2016, my handstand picture has a bit of a Welsh theme :) 

Did you do a handstand today? There's still time left!

Monday, 20 June 2016

21 Questions

I found this on P!inky's blog and thought it'd be a perfect little get to know you tag for some of my new followers.

1) Are you named after anyone?
Not officially, but my Great Nan's name was Ivy so I like to think there is some relation there (Hollie and Ivy), especially as my sisters name is very similar to my other Great Nan's name.

2) When was the last time you cried?
Well tears came into my eyes when I had food poisoning last month but I don't think it was actual crying. Apart from that, I don't actually remember- I know I cried just after Christmas and I probably have since then but I don't know when that was.

3) Do you have any kids?
Nope, but if you read my blog you might see me post photos of my favourite little girl Emily- she's my cousin Sophie's daughter.

4) What is your job?
Currently I'm a gymnastics coach working part time hours, but I'm looking for something different and full time.

5) Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Yes- I really try not to but sometimes I can't help it.

6) Will you ever bungee jump?
I'm not sure. I don't think it's something I'd ever go out of my way to do, but if the opportunity arose the daredevil side of me would probably come out.

7) What is your favourite cereal?
Frosties! Although I don't have cereal that often.

8) What's the first thing you notice about people?
Hmmmmm. I really don't know, I'm awful at remembering faces and describing appearances to others, so I guess I don't really notice much! I'm good at remembering names though :)

9) What is your eye colour?

10) Scary movie or happy ending?
Happy ending. Always. I don't like scary movies.

11) Favourite smells?
Vanilla. Coconut. Anything that reminds me of summer.

12) Computer or television?
Computer. I could easily live without a television.

13) What's the furthest you've been from home?
Japan- I went in 2008 with my school and we travelled all over; Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Tokyo. Or is Thailand further than Japan? I've just googled it at they are both around 5,900 miles away from home. To the west I guess Winnipeg, Canada is the furthest I've been, which is nearly 4000 miles from home.

14) Do you have any special talents?
Ummm, depends what classes as a special talent? I'm pretty clumsy if that counts as a talent. And I can wiggle my toes weirdly which most people find gross. And the fact that I still like to throw myself around on the odd occasion at gymnastics and trampolining probably counts as something special.

15) Where were you born?
In the town that I currently live in :)

16) What are your hobbies?
Trampolining, paper crafting, playing piano, watching sports, walking, knitting, choreographing gymnastics routines...

17) Summer or Winter?
Summer. The sun and blue skies just make me happy.

18) Do you have any pets?
I have a 7 month old rabbit named Bailey- partly because he looks like a bottle of Bailey's, and partly after Welsh football legend Gareth Bale.

19) Favourite movie?
Bridesmaids- it always makes me laugh, especially the scene on the plane to Vegas.

20) Do you have any siblings?
I have a younger sister who is currently at university, and loves to one up me in everything she does.

21) What did you want to be when you grew up?
I have a piece of school work from when I was 7 that said I wanted to be a Doctor, an artisit or a vet. Well, I can't handle blood very well do Doctor and Vet are out, and I can't draw at all in the slightest so I guess artist was never going to work out either.

So that's me! Leave me links in the comments if you have tried this tag.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Summer Bucket List

Linking up with Steph for my Summer goals post!

Back before I ever shared the link to my blog with anyone, I did a little summer bucket list so thought it would be fun to do one again. So, before the end of summer, I'd like to...

- Go on holiday- I think me and my mum might be going to Spain but it isn't booked yet.

- Watch as much of the Olympics as possible- this will be a little harder than 2012 thanks to the timezone but I'm going to give it a good go. My current dilemma is whether to book the days off work when I know the gymnastics is going to be on.

- Go through my bedroom and clear out all the stuff I've been hoarding. I've actually started on this but I think it's going to be quite a big task.

- Maybe even redecorate my bedroom... I've seen a few ideas on pinterest that I like so will see how the clearing out goes and then decide whether to redecorate.

- Organise an amazing party for my Mum's 50th birthday- Again, pinterest has been my friend here.

- Lose another 10lbs- I've done pretty well with my weight loss this year, as I'm back to the weight I was before I broke my ankle, but I still think I can lose more.

- Go on a big shopping trip and treat myself to something from Michael Kors. I've been saving money from the temp work I've been doing and have been waiting to find the perfect bag to buy. I'm thinking maybe this one.

- Go to a live sporting event. I bought my mum tickets to watch the Athletics Olympic Trials for Christmas so we've got that to look forward to.

- Post at least 10 blog posts a month. I think that works out at between 2-3 a week. I think I can make that happen.

- Be spontaneous. Go on the walks around the park at dusk, sit outside around the chimenea with a glass of wine until theres no light left in the sky, have bbq's no matter the weather, spend time with my grandparents, go on random day trips etc.

- Start my tickets and memorabilia scrapbook- I had an empty scrapbook for my birthday back in January and have been waiting to collect enough to be able to start the project.

So that's all I can think of for the moment. I'll have to remember to update at the end of summer to see how I did!
Life According to Steph

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Moments from my Phone | 2016 So Far

I was looking back through the blog and realised I hadn't done a phone photos post yet this year, so this post includes pictures from January to May! Previous editions include Summer 2015Autumn 2015.

Now that the evenings are lighter and warmer, we see these Hot Air Balloons passing over as we leave work. I imagine that the view is amazing!

Bailey is preparing to support Wales in Euro 2016... I can't handle it when he runs round the house like this.

I saw this cute cat having a nap in the patio furniture department of a garden centre the other week. I guess the sun was all too much, and I'd say this table and chairs has the seal of approval from this cat!

This cute Minnie Mouse cupcake was in the Selfridges food hall and was too cute to pass up.

I had to laugh at the typo- 'penini!'

How many different shades of purple and pink do I actually need? I threw away a couple but I really do need to narrow down my collection a little more.

Bailey prefers to use his litter tray to lie down and nap in, so we have given in and just put an old blanket down in there for him.

How hard can it be to get a photo with two kids looking at the camera at the same time? (and it was their mum taking the picture too!)
The aftermath of Emily's 1st birthday cake smash photoshoot. I like to think that she's admiring her hard work.

So that's me caught up on phone picture for the year!


Friday, 10 June 2016

Friday Highlights | Sunshine and Hard Work

Another week has come and gone! Here are the highlights of my week.

- It's been a lovely warm week here in the UK, over 20c every day! Unfortunately there have been lots of clouds too so its been quite humid and muggy... not the best conditions when you work in indoor sport and there is no air conditioning! Oh well, I'm not really going to complain because it's probably the only warm weather we will get this year.

- I was thrilled to see the news that Renee has had her baby! Go and check out her blog to see the good news and see some super adorable photos.

- My adult trampolining class is still going well. With bank holidays and other commitments it seems like I've only been going every other week but I'm getting back into the swing of things again. With the warm weather and slightly lower numbers in attendance, it was very hard work but I loved getting more trampoline time and getting to fix the technique of my old skills.

- I overcame a big personal barrier this week too- I coached the main competition squad at work. I usually coach the low level 'novice' competition squad, but one of the coaches was ill so I was asked to coach the higher level squad. There's a bit of a back story with my work with the main squad, and I really don't have much confidence when I work with them but I decided to build a bridge and run away from the barriers I had made for myself and actually quite enjoyed the evening! It helps that the kids are pretty cute too :)

- Bailey has been with us for 3 months now and he's definitely at home around us and in the house. This week his new trick is escaping from his hutch if we leave the lid open. We learned that the hard way! Oops! 

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Catching Up with May

Yet another catch up post- this should be the last one! I just wanted to record on the blog a few other events that went on whilst I was doing the mad three weeks of working two jobs.

- My gymnasts had their first proper four piece competition. It was a ridiculously long day, leaving the house at 6.30am, and not getting back until 10.30pm! The leisure centre was supposed to close at 8pm, and it ran so much overtime that people were packing up equipment around gymnasts still competing which must have been distracting for them. Anyway, I was very proud of my gymnasts and they all had lots to be proud of; from first competitions ever, to first competitions with a new club, to competing new skills for the first time, to performing beautiful floor routines after falling on beam, and just generally having a good competition. It's been fun to get back in the gym and learn new skills at last!

- I think this is going to be a very unintentionally sporty themed post. My adult trampolining class is going well! I've relearned pretty much all my old skills that I had before I broke my ankle and my friend is trying to persuade me to compete again, but I'm not so sure about that. Last session, my coach got me into the rig set up, and had me actually working the skill that I broke my ankle- a crash dive ball out. Scary stuff but I'm pushing through... I didn't realise I had such a determined attitude in me.

- A couple of Saturdays ago, my old dance teacher had a big party to celebrate 35 years of the dance school. I wasn't too sure about going as I hadn't seen or spoken to many of the people there in nearly 5 years, but figured I should at least show my face if I had been attending the school for 15 of those 35 years. It wasn't too bad in the end, and I got to wear my new floral jumpsuit (no pictures though unfortunately). I'm just super thankful that one of the girls there is actually someone who I currently work with at gymnastics so I could spend the evening with her.

-Manchester United won the FA Cup. Louis Van Gaal lost his job. Jose Mourinho is the new manager. Happy days for a United fan :)

So there you go, I think I'm all caught up on everything of importance that happened in May now... Hopefully I'll stay more up to date in June! 

Friday, 3 June 2016

Friday Highlights | Back Into the Swing of Things

Well look at that, 3 weeks off blogging and 4 posts in 4 days! Its been a weird week having Bank Holiday Monday and school half term week, but here are my highlights.

- My sisters boyfriend had his 21st Birthday this week so I got my craft set out for the first time in I don't know how long and made his birthday card. It's been far too long since I've done any sort of paper crafts so I enjoyed getting everything out again and was pretty pleased with the final result.

- Classes at work have been really quiet this week because of half term, so it's been a nice easy week to ease back into my main job after three weeks off most of my classes.

- I've loved getting to sleep in and get to wear my comfy clothes every day again. I hate having to wear 'regular' clothes and shoes, give me a t shirt and shorts/leggings any day! My feet are pretty banged up from having to wear proper shoes being as they are used to wearing trainers all the time :(

- Whilst I've been at gym, I've used some of the down time between classes to try little bit of gym myself again. I last took a gymnastics class in 2006, and have done trampolining since but trying beam again is quite scary. Vault was fun though and I actually got a cheer from the gymnasts that were in the gym at the time!

- Our tickets have just arrived for the British Athletics championships in Birmingham at the end of the month. I bought them for my mum for Christmas (she was a very high level athlete) and she is so excited to go and watch the Olympic Trials at a stadium she used to compete at a lot.

How was your week?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Thursday Confessions

The temporary job that I just finished had moments of complete madness and feeling rushed off your feet, then had moments of very slow down time with nothing happening. I ended up writing down lots of notes for blog posts, and had noticed the Confessions posts on Jenn's blog so thought I'd give it a go. So over the last month or so, I confess...

- I totally felt like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. I was the young blonde girl surrounded by people of much greater intelligence than I have... I had to pretend to have serious and well thought out opinions on everything and I never quite got used to being told multiple times a day that I was 'awfully kind' or 'terribly kind' every time I did a job for someone. 

- Is there a greater feeling than standing on the platform at the train station with hundreds of other commuters, seeing a train pull in and stop with the doors exactly right in front of you? After a couple of days of the commute I'd worked out the ideal places to stand on the platform so I got a seat pretty much every time on the train. 

- There was so much down time whilst I was at the job, that essentially I was being paid to plan blog posts and write gymnastics session plans. My little notebook became my saviour for three weeks, and is pretty worn out now. Got to keep my eye out for an inexpensive pretty notebook now, any suggestions? I love the look of paperchase ones but they are super expensive.

- I also realised I wrote an entire post just about the weather. How very British of me.

- Over the three weeks I was there, I probably ate and drank close to my body weight in tea, coffee and biscuits. My role was based in the kitchen, so whenever it was quiet it was so tempting to just grab a cup of tea, and biscuits have always been my weakness so I really struggled to resist the temptation there. Oops!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Weekending | Whitsun Bank Holiday

Linking up with Biana for this Weekending post!

Well we've had our Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK this weekend which has coincided with the schools half term holiday so I have really lost track of which day it is. My mum went away with my Auntie for the long weekend which left just me, my dad and the rabbit in the house- a total recipe for disaster. On Saturday morning, I accidentally pulled a curtain off the rail in the spare room. My dad didn't notice this until Tuesday afternoon! On the other hand, my mum came back on Tuesday evening and noticed within 10 minutes of coming back! Oh well, it's all fixed now.

My weekend started off slowly. I had a nice lie in to recover from the madness of working 50 hour weeks in comparison to my usual 20, and got some of the housework done (look at me being all domesticated!). Saturday is my usual day off work, but I'd agreed to host a Birthday party at gymnastics for one of my gymnasts. It was only the 2nd party I'd hosted, but it ran much more smoothly than the first one thankfully. While I was there I had a message from my nan asking her to help with some stuff on her iPad (she still can't send an email without the entire message in the subject line) so I popped round and saw my grandparents for the first time in about three weeks, which is quite bad considering they live 3 roads away!

Sunday morning started with a Facetime call to Sophie, and she invited me over to stay for the night. Whenever I go to Wales, I always stay with my Aunt and Uncle so this was a first to stay at her house. I packed my bag and drove to Wales straight from work, creeping in at 10.30pm trying not to wake little Emily and was greeted with an ice cream cone. Can't every hotel have that kind of welcome?

It's taken 15 months to get a photo of both of us smiling
She loves my glasses.

Bank Holiday Monday started in the happiest way, with shouts of 'Hiya!' from 15 month old Emily to wake me up. I hadn't seen her since she was properly walking, and oh my, she doesn't stop moving now! She is such a happy and giggly little girl, she makes me smile so much. It was a beautiful day so we went out in the morning, then had milkshakes and spent the afternoon soaking up the sun in the garden. After Emily went to bed, me and Sophie had a girly night in with snacks and watched old videos making us reminisce about our previous trips to Florida.

Pyjamas, snacks and Disney, what a perfect night!
So good!
Sadly I had to be back for work on Tuesday afternoon so that's where the fun ended but it was an unexpected fun weekend with lots of giggles and smiles.
Em was quite happy to steal my shoes. This girl loves shoes!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A Bit of Explaining...

Well I'm back from a completely unplanned bloggy break so I have a little explaining to do. Shortly after I pressed publish on this post, I had a phone call from my job agency that I recently signed up to. I was offered three weeks full time work in a very well respected firm in the city centre, where I'd be surrounded by highly educated people. It was only a housekeeping role, but nevertheless the name of the firm looks great on my CV and it's all experience so it would have been stupid to say no.

So why the bloggy break? My schedule for the last few weeks was something like 6.40am wake up, 7.20 out the house, 8.30 start work, 5.30pm finish work and rush to train station, 6.20 get home, 6.30 go to the evening job, 9.30 get home, 10.15 bed. It doesn't really leave much time for blogging! Or time for anything to be honest. I was still going to my job at the gymnastics club 3 evenings a week, and on the other evenings I was just so tired that I'd find a spot on the sofa and just sit there all night. Shoutout to the head coach of the gymnastics club for being super understanding, and allowing me to pretty much halve the hours I coach each week on less than 24 hours notice. One of the reasons I love working there :)

I'm back to 'normal' now, whatever that may be. Things I'll miss about the job- really friendly people, being told I'm 'awfully kind' each time I take a cup of tea into a conference room, and the lunchtime walks around the city discovering little cafes. Things I definitely won't miss- rush hour trains, uncomfortable shoes, not being able to see the sky from the office and the tiredness of non-stop days.

Let the regular blogging resume!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A Day in Photos | A day in the City

I thought it would be fun to try and document a day in photos... it didn't last very long but this was the best I could come up with this time. I might make this into a series of posts and we can see if I get any better at remembering to take photos!

As usual, the day begins with a cup of tea in my Frozen mug.

This day I was getting the train into the city centre for some temporary work. The view from the office was pretty cool but I didn't feel comfortable enough to get my phone out and take a picture!

I came home (told you I was bad at this taking photos malarky... skipped from 10am to 5pm!) to find Bailey had received his first personalised post... courtesy of the Pets at Home 'Very Important Pet' programme.

I spent the evening reading some blogs, brainstorming blog post ideas and I started work on the Disney Character Tag.

So that's one day in my life! I really like the idea of doing a few more posts in this style, I'll just have to find some more interesting days where I can actually take photos all day :)

Monday, 9 May 2016

Happy Monday!

We have a small heat wave in the UK at the moment, which is making this Monday extra happy because I can sit outside and tan before I go to work this evening (hopefully the clouds will decide to move sometime soon). Though to be fair, the result of yesterdays 'tan' session was a few more freckles on my face and a slightly red chest. Gotta love having really fair skin!

Mr Bailey bunny isn't enjoying the weather- I don't think I would either if I had a constant black fur coat on! He has found a cool place in front of the sideboard in the living room and has made himself comfortable there for the time being. I think he is happy! The first time I saw him like this I had to double check that he was actually breathing, but now I just think that we must be doing something right if he is happy enough to roll around like this :)

Have a great week!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Disney Character Tag

What a fun tag! As soon as I saw it I knew I'd have to give it a go- you know I love a good tag, and I love Disney too. Even better that I got to go through my old photos from Florida to use in this post too.  I found this on Renee's blog so go and check out her answers.

 Aurora- Story of your first kiss: 
It was Valentine's Day and a guy I had been talking to surprised me on my doorstep with roses and a card. The kiss itself wasn't that romantic though.

Rapunzel- 5 Things on your bucket list:
- Go to watch an Olympics in person
- Visit all the continents
- Travel across America and Canada
- Get married
- Have kids and take them to Disneyworld

Dory- Something someone has told you that you can't forget:
It's ok not to not be an expert the first time you try something... just be patient and work hard.

Pocahontas- Something new you taught someone:
I guess this wants a deeper answer but my job is teaching kids how to flip so I guess that counts?

Mulan- Do you trust your gut feeling?
No. Sometimes my gut reaction is a complete overreaction so I have to take some time to completely think a situation through before my instincts get me into trouble.

Jasmine- The story of when you really had to trust someone. Was it easy?
A few weeks after I started my job there was lots of restructuring going on. I wasn't particularly convinced to begin with but decided to put my trust in the decision makers because they were way more experienced with me. I guess it was easy to trust them but I had to keep reminding myself it was for the best.

Belle- Is there someone you are close to who no one else likes? What's the story?
In High School, I was best friends with the new girl who got bullied and I helped her through that time and we got really close. As time went on, she began to ignore me and distance herself from me so we haven't spoken in years.

Ariel- Where do you think you belong and why?
I have no clue to be honest. If anyone knows where I belong, please tell me! Some days I am happy living in my town, other days I can't wait to move away. Sometimes I see myself living in the same town as my cousins, other days I just want to pack up and move to North America. So yeah, I don't know.

Tiana- A time you tried your hardest for something:
In my last year of uni, trying to get the 1st class degree. I knew it would be a long shot but knew if I aimed for the first then the 2:1 would most likely happen. For first semester I was pretty good, but then the whole broken ankle drama kicked off and second semester was much harder work ethic wise but I ended up with the 2:1. Also, I guess I worked super hard for my Level 2 gymnastics coaching award because I knew I needed it but the technical knowledge was still a little over my head.

Simba- Something a parent has taught you:
If you have a bad day, just have a glass of wine and it'll all get better.

Alice- Ever done drugs?
I guess the closest I've come is the gas and air I was on when the doctor was trying to physically repair my broken ankle by pushing down on it whilst the cast was being put on. After two minutes on gas and air apparently everyone thought I was some Olympic level trampolinist (in my defense they asked two questions- did I do competitions and could I somersault? the answer to both was yes, so apaprently Olympic level was the logical conclusion) so I dread to think what I'd be like with anything else.

Peter Pan- Something from your childhood that you still love:
Disney! And Disneyworld. I will never be too old for Disney.

Merida- What are you most passionate about?
Gymnastics I guess? It was my hobby growing up, and after I stopped I followed the sport as a fan. Now I'm still a big fan and I coach 6 days a week too, so I honestly don't remember the last day I went a day without involving gymnastics in some capacity.

I tag Sophie to do this tag! If you've done it, leave me your links below to check out.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Travel Throwbacks | Egypt 2011

Back in August 2011 we traveled to Taba Heights, Egypt. It is a super small town around 10 miles from the border of Israel. We stayed at the Sofitel, and it was crazy to see 4 countries and 2 continents from our hotel! (Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia).

We travelled on my mums birthday so took this Millie's Cookies cake with us,

We arrived quite late at night and were sent to get dinner before we had checked in and seen our rooms. The next morning we woke up and noticed there were huge mountains behind the hotel that we hadn't seen the night before!

The lobby looked pretty spectacular at night.

I missed the memo to take a maxi dress with me. We had an impromptu photo shoot and this was our best 'Egyptian' pose that we could come up with.

We spent most of our time by the 'quiet pool'. Although, being a group of 7 we were probably the loudest there and got to know everyone. Apparently we had quite the reputation by the end of the trip!

We didn't actually spend much time by the beach, but the sand and the water was pretty warm.

The hotel viewed from the pier.

The most exciting part of the holiday was the power cutting out leaving the hotel complex with no food, sanitation or air conditioning. Our travel company, Thomson, evacuated all its customers to a hotel two hours away in a town called Dahab for the night. It was nice to get cool air, safe food and one of the comfiest beds I've ever slept in, but the 160+ steps up from our room to the lobby and restaurant wasn't so good!
 Funny story from the evacuation- we made friends with a family who had a mum who had swam in the Olympics, and a daughter and son who were also swimming at junior elite level. When we were getting the bus back early the next morninh we were waiting for one missing family- theirs. They were found down by the pool having their early morning swim! It's been pretty cool to follow the daughters progress in swimming as she has now competed at World Championships and has Commonwealth Medals.

Back at the Sofitel and trying to get artsy with the photos from the tower.

The view from our room- the mountains in the background are in Saudi Arabia.

So thats some of the best photos I took in Egypt! I always take way more photos of the scenery rather than the people for some reason... so the photos with me in must be on someone elses computer. It was a super pretty place and so so so warm! I'd love to go back to the hotel... if only it was in another location. The area is now so unsafe that no flights even go into the airport anymore. Oh well, lots more places in the world to go and visit!