Posts Tagged ‘fun’

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Monday, November 24th, 2014

This time last year, my friend Pooja and I noticed a tall(ish) tower being installed in Spinningfields as part of the Manchester Christmas Markets. We were instantly excited by the potential fun that the red and white helter skelter offered us and vowed that we would slide down this tower of joy.

Sadly, despite the helter skelter being in Spinningfields for over four weeks, we never made it down. And so, when we noticed its return for this year’s markets, we were at the front of the line and waiting with our money before any little kids could get in our way. We were so early, in fact, that it wasn’t open yet, and we had to come back the following week.

The moment finally arrived – last Monday at 4pm, Pooja, her husband, Jonathan, and I met to take the most anticipated rides of our lives. There was a slight drizzle, which meant that the guy in charge hadn’t bothered to wax the end of the slide. “You’ll either stop on the way down and have to shuffle yourself to the end, or you’ll come straight off the end or sumfin,” he said. But due to the less than perfect conditions, he was offering us two rides for our £2 entry price. What a champ!

Pooja and I went up first, leaving photography guru, Jonathan, to record our descents. The climb to the top was cramped and screaming ‘Public Liability’ but we made it to the top and I suggested Pooja went first. I figured it was only fair that she propel herself down a slide first seeing as I had walked on fire before her. Pooja’s super slim figure fit easily onto the very narrow slide and I watched pondering what I would do if I got stuck half way down. Pooja made it safely to the ground so it was my turn and I then realised that wearing a skirt to go on a slide wasn’t the smartest choice.

And off I went, zooming down the surprisingly fast slide, flying off the end to a sudden halting stop. IT WAS AWESOME! I was then particularly pleased that we were allowed two turns, although the second go was slightly less exciting than the first.

Helter skelter

WAAAAAHHHHOOOOOOOOO!!!! Photo credit : Jonathan Pow/jp@jonathanpow.com REF : POW_141117_2346

Pooja and I celebrated – we had finally fulfilled our plan of going down the Christmas helter skelter, even if it was a year later than planned. The three of us then wandered off to the Christmas markets where we drank disappointing glühwein and stole pieces of Jonathan’s not-so-great curry wurst. And that’s where my Christmas spirit ends.

32 Days of Summer Fun

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Today is 1 August. A culmination of there being exactly one month until my birthday; it being a rainy, drizzle and depressing day despite being summer; and the fact that I don’t have any writing work on at the moment and am therefore looking for things to keep my mind occupied, has resulted in me having the greatest brain wave since my 108 Challenges in 108 Days. For the month of August I will celebrate all things that are good with daily hits of Summer Fun. This fun can transpire in many forms, be it food based, activity based, friend based or other (I’m keeping it open to interpretation.). This month of fun will finish with the funnest of fun days EVER – aka My Birthday. YES.

And so it begins.

Day One.

It’s raining today. My two weeks worth of writing work have dried up. It is quiet in the office and I have to walk home in Manchester Drizzle. Woo. So to keep myself and my co-workers in cheerful dispositions, I bought us Kinder Happy Hippos. You can’t beat a bit of cheap kiddies’ chocolate.

Happy Hippo!

Happy Hippo!

I shall call him Harry.

I shall call him Harry.

To be honest, Harry doesn’t look that happy. I would say he’s more ‘anxious’ or ‘concerned’. But he sure brought joy to our worlds! Cheers, Harry.

Mucking Around

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The last few days have been fairly experimental – yesterday I spent a few hours attempting to make flowers out of paper. I eventually gave up when I accepted that my flowers would be better off being used as mulch. I then saw Martha Stewart’s versions and have decided to leave paper flower making to the professionals.

This morning I have been fiddling with Adobe Illustrator and discovering what I can do with it. I am in love with the “Blob Brush” tool – it makes EVERYTHING I draw look cool! I decided to draw a series of BoBos (the hipsters who hang out in my neighbourhood) as they are a source of inspiration for me and will one day feature in my book. Here is my favourite so far.

Paris Bobo

Hmmm.

I’m not sure what I will do with him but it has been good to get some lines on a page.

Birthdaying With the BoBos

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

I did it! I made it to the ripe old age of 27! What an achievement. Thankfully people think I am still in my early 20s thanks to my innocent-blonde appearance so I am quite happy to quietly grow old.

I spent my birthday with my parents and my mum’s cousin and his wife who had popped over from Holland for the day. It was lovely – the sun shone all day despite the forecast predicting clouds and I managed to eat plenty of good food. I had chosen to go to a restaurant called Le Cul de Poule (The Arse of a Chicken or also the name of the metal bowls used in kitchens) but the chef was in an accident and hence there was no food that day. Luckily we were up near Montmartre when I discovered I wasn’t going to be fed, right near my never fail, always good restaurant, Le Jardin d’en Face. There was one table available, outside and away from the smokers and my birthday ended with delicious steak with blue cheese sauce and THE WORLD’S BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE. To be honest I’m not sure why I even thought about trying a new place and missing out on this delight. It was the perfect way to end my day.

Chocolate cake

Nom nom nom…

Last night I claimed the usual Friday night gathering in the Récollets garden as a belated birthday party for myself and my friend, Chuck. My school friend, Nina was in town, and I invited a few randoms from outside the residency and it was a really enjoyable evening with wonderful friends, great cheese and awesome cake. The highlight was blowing out birthday candles as all of my friends and a garden full of Parisian BoBos sang happy birthday to me and Chuck. This is the second birthday I have had where a large number of random strangers have sung happy birthday to me and I never imagined the hip and cool BoBo crowd would actually participate in a sing-along. But sing they did, en anglais!

My friend Becky and Vivien hunted down an AMAZING chocolate cake from an amazing pâtisserie in St Germain called La Pâtisserie des Rêves (Pastry store of dreams) and fall into a state of dream-like bliss I did. It was a soft, smooth dark chocolate mousse cake with chocolate ganache, chocolate icing and small pieces of chocolate biscuit through it. Seriously amazing. There is even a movie about my cake. Merci beaucoup, mes amies!

Biking in the Bourgogne

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

A few months ago, my friend Becky mentioned that for her birthday she wanted to catch a train to the Bourgogne region, hire bikes and ride for the day. I placed my hand into the air and solemnly declared that I would be joining her. Excellent idea.

Becky’s birthday finally arrived this last weekend and she, her husband Vivien and I caught a train at 8:56am to Montbard, a town not far from Dijon. Once we arrived we walked across the road to the tourist office and picked up our hire bikes. It was so simple, painless and inexpensive with the bike hire being just 18 Euros for the day. The bikes were nice and light and had 7 gears which was sufficient for the canal-side bike ride most people would do. Plus they were yellow. Who doesn’t like a yellow bike?

Bike hire in Bourgogne

Speed mobile.

The Canal de Bourgogne runs through Montbard and extends for over 200km. We rode approximately 25 kilometres (in each direction, making an amazing grand total of 50 kilometres!) and went inland in search of hills. This was Becky’s idea, and seeing as it was her birthday she got to choose. Honestly, while the canal is beautiful, it is very flat and a bit of undulating countryside is always nice.

Canal de Bourgogne

Canal de Bourgogne

We rode to an area called Alésia, where a battle between the Romans and the Gauls took place. Julius Caesar was victorious but there is a statue of Vercingetorix, the head of the Gauls, on top of a hill. We rode up that hill (well, Vivien did. Becky and I pushed our bikes up) to see the statue and discovered a man with a very impressive moustache and long hair. He was probably very handsome in his day.

Vercingetorix

Such impressive hair growth.

View from Alesis

View from the hill

Our next stop involved another upwards climb, to a medieval town called Flavigny where they produce aniseed flavoured lollies in an old abbey. I’m willing to ride up hills for sugary treats and I managed to arrive at the top of the hill first. Red polka dot jersey for me! It was a beautiful little town with lots of old houses for sale. At first we walked around picking which house we would buy, but then we started thinking about the actual reality of living in such an isolated town at the top of the hill. So we rode back to Montbard.

House in Flavigny

I wanted this house because of the turret

View from Flavigny

The beautiful countryside surrounding Flavigny

The ride was fantastic – it was a beautiful sunny day and the views were spectacular. It was a relief to escape the noise and grime of Paris for a day and to be outside in the country. The only down side (because SOMETHING had to go wrong considering how my past few weeks have been going with the entire universe turning against me) was that I fell off my bike. Typical really… I wasn’t exactly surprised and I could see it coming as I attempted to roll down a gravelly slope and felt the bike slipping from underneath me. I knocked my shin on the bike peddle, which was probably the best outcome as there isn’t much blood between your skin and your shin bone so I could patch myself up without too much excessive blood loss.

Cut on my leg

A boo boo.

Still, I now have a lovely purple scar on my leg. Perhaps that’s why no French men have tried to kiss me lately.

Déménagement

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Last Saturday I helped my friend Jen and her boyfriend Laurent move from their separate apartments into their new love nest. I have only met Jen twice – she is a friend of my cousin who got married and I met her at the wedding – but when the opportunity to stick my nose into three Parisian apartments came along, I couldn’t resist volunteering to help.

Thankfully Jen appears to be a highly organised and very well prepared person, so all of their things were packed and ready to go when a group of nine or so friends turned up at 9.30am. There was coffee and biscuits with smiley faces on them – everyone was impressed and in good spirits. And so it began.

I have never really been involved in the moving of houses before except for when I was very young and was given tiny things to carry so that I felt special. This time it was serious AND it was in Paris which meant we had to deal with the concept of carrying household items and boxes from the apartment to the truck. Without a lift. And their two apartments were on the fifth and fourth floors. Thankfully, I am a girl, and therefore was not required to lift anything larger than my torso. It was left to the manly men to carry couches, washing machines and cupboards out of the tiny doorways, through impossibly tight hallways and then down the narrow flights of stairs.

Moving truck

Of course a removal truck in Paris has a naked lady on it.

Jen had come up with a great team-work system involving one group of people carrying the boxes from the fifth to the second storey, and then another group carrying the boxes the rest of the way. That way we weren’t going up and down five flights of stairs for each box. It worked well but two or three sets of stairs is just as bad as five.

It was weirdly fun and the time passed quickly. But by the time we came to put all of the stuff into their new apartment we were all exhausted, hungry and thrilled to see a rather large elevator that made the transportation of their things so much easier. Hooray for modern technology!

Jen and Laurent then whipped out baguettes and cheese and ham for us to gorge ourselves on after six hours of heavy lifting. I came away with some scratches on my arms and two impressive bruises on my hips, plus some very sexy leg muscles from climbing all of those stairs. And I made some new friends! It’s amazing how a bit of brutal physical activity can bring people together.

Pop-Up Paris

Friday, June 1st, 2012

I have just had a great afternoon with a knife in my hand and a sheet of paper in front of me. I was experimenting with creating silhouette-style images and turned a photograph I took this week of the Eiffel Tower into a simple black and white shape with Photoshop. Then add some text (my choice of typeface has been questioned, to which I answered it is very “Parisian”) and it’s time to cut!

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower original photograph

I have been wanting to experiment further and learn more about paper cutting and how to create 3-D shapes and took the opportunity to make some pop-up art.

Eiffel Tower stencil

Pop

Eiffel Tower

Up.

Then I got serious, worked out an appropriate colour combination and got rollin’.

Eiffel Tower stencil

Blue. White. Red.

Eiffel Tower Stencil

City of Love

I am very pleased with the results – I just really need to buy some better equipment so that I can have a smoother finish. The rollers I am using are essentially useless and make the paint bleed everywhere. I need to invest in my work now and hopefully one day when I am world famous it will pay me back!

B-O-N-J-O-U-R

Friday, May 11th, 2012

What a wonderful day to be in Paris! The last month has been rain, rain, rain and grey, grey, grey, and then out of the blue came the sunshine. It reached an impressive maximum of 28.7 degrees today, a miracle considering the recent averages temperatures have been hovering around 16 degrees. The only downside was the strong wind that blew pollen and seeds into eyes and down throats – not so much fun when I went for a bike ride in the afternoon and finished with tears streaming down my face as my eyes tried to get rid of evil horse chestnut blossom.

I spent the day with the windows to my apartment wide open, letting in the warming temperatures and the exciting feeling of the approaching summer. It was a good day – I hung a blackboard in my kitchen to act as a creative outlet/shopping list and framed the best version of my lino stencil. I still want to do more prints of that stencil, I just need to go and buy more equipment first.

My main project for the day was to finish off a large piece that I started last week. I have been busy with visitors and being social (it’s a hard life) and so my half-finished project has been sitting on my desk staring at me. Today I had time to get out my sewing machine and work like crazy. Et voilà!

Bonjour material letters

It's almost as if Macgyver is speaking French.

The next step is to iron the letters flat and then attach them to a long string to hang them in my apartment. The other option is to frame them all separately and scatter them throughout the room. But string is cheaper.

Spring Time in Paris

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

As I write this I am sitting next to my window, facing out into the park behind my apartment. I am sitting on my dining/work/extra-space table as it is the only thing in my apartment that puts me at a high enough level to look through the window properly. Today is too beautiful to not appreciate in its full extent.

It is Sunday afternoon and the first official day of Summer Time. Paris is alive. The park is full of families having picnics, children playing on the swings, old people sitting on benches watching others go by. There are also the occasional drug dealer and homeless person but everyone blends together.

Last night Europe moved its clocks forward an hour and there appears to have been an instant effect – people are wearing shorts and tshirts, the new leaves on the trees have burst out of their buds, and everyone is smiling. It is definitely contagious – the only thing keeping me inside is the banana bread that I just took out of the oven. After a slice of cake and a cup of tea, the Parisian sunshine and I are going to get acquainted.

Magnolia

The magnolia (I think that is what we decided it was last year) is back in bloom

The BEST News Ever

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

FANTASTIC NEWS, EVERYONE!!! The French government have considered the pros and cons of allowing me to re-enter their country and they have decided that I consume enough food to keep their economy going and therefore have been granted a Visa! After waiting two very long weeks, plus numerous months before that worrying about whether or not I would be accepted, I am so glad to finally have the little green sticker in my passport. This means I have another year to live, eat and breath Paris. I can’t wait.

Eiffel Tower

Paris – home of tall things, including me.