Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Catching up and some pics from the weekend

Hello Lovely people that read this blog.

So, another weekend has been and gone again in my world that is "the little golden daffodil". I am aware that I didn't write about Fathers day weekend. I had a rather exhausting (but lovely) time with my family and we spent some time with Dan's dad too. It was lovely to see my dads face when he opened his gift from us (a USB fan clock). Dad couldn't believe that we had remembered him being fascinated with it many months ago so bought one almost straight away and saved it for fathers day!

The weekend just gone (21st-22nd June) Dan and I had yet another fun packed adventure planned. Well it actually started on Friday for me... Dan car shares for work and it's not his drive this week so we planned that on Friday I would pick him up from work (which is close to the M1) and then we would head down to Cambridge to stay with my university friend and her Husband (and their new cat, Tilly). Dan sorted all the stuff he wanted to take on Thursday night and piled it up ready for me to pack... I, on the other hand, had sorted NOTHING! I managed to get up relatively early on Friday because I had an early bed time on Thursday night. I decided that I wanted to bake some buns for my friends so I made a batch and got them in the oven, washed the pots while they were baking and hung the washing out. While they were cooling I made the caramel buttercream frosting and then set about getting my stuff ready to pack. I had the worlds quickest shower followed by fake tan (I used the lightest shade of the Ambre Solaire no streaks dry mist self tan - It's super quick and it doesn't make me look orange. It also only puts on the lightest coat and is buildable... I only wanted a light coverage as I wanted to take the whiteness away and just look a little sun kissed). I am a bit funny about tanning and I haven't actually fake baked of any description since my university days... I can not stand the orangey patchy tans and I am a bit particular about it looking natural - I'm not a tanning expert which is why I don't do it very much however the ambre solaire spray is my favourite up to yet and is Hannah proof! So, fake tanned up, I was forced to finish packing with just my underwear on, I whizzed round and was super impressed with myself when I managed to get in the car at about 4pm (I would like to add that I was dressed at this point). I got to pick Dan up from our meeting place about 30 minutes late (only because he didn't get overtime that he thought he would have - it gave him time for a cheeky pint). Now the plan was that we would get to my friends house at about 7pm and she had to be at a meeting at 7.30pm but I could go with her because it was something that I am interested in anyway and the guys would go out to eat... When I got to the meeting point with Dan I realised that in my crazy run around the house getting jobs done I had only eaten a trial cupcake that I had baked and I wouldn't get a chance to eat before the meeting so I grabbed a service station sandwich and some crisps. We had such a good run down but hit traffic just as we were close to our turn off.... I was seriously panicking that my friend would be late for her meeting but somehow we got there just in time for me to hop from one car to another and then head off with my friend to the meeting. I found the meeting very interesting and entertaining but I started to feel unwell and I didn't want to make an issue of it. When we got back to my friends house the boys were out (which we later found out was to the Chinese buffet - JEALOUS). We played with Tilly and as it was my first time seeing her (she's not been with them long and she's very timid) I was so impressed that she came to me for a little fuss.

On Saturday we went to Milton Keynes to the Great Linford Waterside Festival. This was the main reason for our trip down to see our friends. My other friend from university days was performing in the festival with her dance crew and she had invited us to go when she knew she was performing. It was a free event and after the quickest trip I've ever made to Tesco to shop for picnic food we got there just in time to set up our little area and then see her perform. After she had performed her slot, she joined us and we spent the rest of the day (until 6.15pm) enjoying spending the time together with music, stalls, ice-cream and sunshine. Some of my friends' friends joined us too and it was a really lovely day enjoyed by all and all it cost was £2.50 car park fee!

Here are some photos of me and one of the stage at the festival:

We had tea at a pub in Milton Keynes where the food was lovely but the service wasn't all that great but we didn't complain and to be honest, we enjoyed the time to chat and chill together.

On Sunday we had a "family day" with my friends family. There was a 12foot paddling pool and a gorgeous buffet lunch, I felt a bit like I'd gate-crashed their day but I was made to feel so so welcome! Seeing my friend in the paddling pool getting splashed by the children was a highlight but being about an inch from being completely dunked (in all of my clothes) was a definite low light haha. I blamed Dan and it was my friends husband that pushed me... It was all done it fun though. We had tea at my friends house (sweet and sour chicken and rice yum yum) and then headed home. The sunset and cloud formation was beautiful on the way home... I managed to snap a few pictures but it was difficult to get a good picture while the car was moving. Here's a selection of them:

 I am still absolutely whacked from such a busy but wonderful weekend with my gorgeous friends. I have noticed that my "recovery rate" is a lot slower at the moment but maybe it's because I'm cramming a lot in knowing that an operation is sure to pop up very soon! I'm certainly making the most of my time that I have before I am of forced chill out!

How have you been enjoying the summer so far? Did you get up to anything interesting this weekend?

Please don't forget to leave me a comment and I'll always reply as soon as I can.

Love Han.xx

Saturday, 14 June 2014

TAG, you're it! Get to know me.

Well hello there my wonderful sun beams!

I have been TAGGED by Hannie over at hannahsays. She knows pretty much everything about me but here's a load of random stuff that will hopefully help you to get to know me a bit better :)
Tell us 5 random facts about you:
1. I played the role of Rizzo in a school production of Grease. (yep, I kept my pink ladies jacket)!
2. I have been a Bridesmaid 3 times (once when I was 3, then again when I was 12 - I think - and then most recently when my twin sister got married in 2011).
3. I spent 6 weeks travelling in a motorhome (camper van) around parts of N.America and Canada
4. I have (UK) size six feet (it has to be a random fact, right?)
5. I can communicate using sign language (Makaton) - It is different from ASL and BSL but I can get by just about with BSL.

When is your birthday?
September 27th and I share it with my lovely Twinny, Bex

What is your favourite colour?
Blue. I love most shades of blue but I LOVE cornflower blue at the moment.
What is your favourite memory?
I have soooo many! There's a game that me, my brother and sister used to play together when we were little. It was like a role play game where we owned shops and we all had "adult names". My name was Caroline and I had a clothes boutique. Haha. We literally played that game for years whenever we were all stuck for something to do, we just slipped into our adult roles and I loved those quality years with my siblings. Family holidays were always fun. We'd spend a lot of them with friends and family and there are literally dozens of funny stories from each! More recently there is seeing my sister happy - that's a huge one for me! Her wedding day was a huge deal and then when she had Little Boo it was definitely one of my happiest memories... I slept at my parents the night she actually had him. She'd been in hospital for a few days and then at 4am we got the call from my brother - in - law to say it was a boy. Me, my mum and my dad all sat weepy eyed on my mum and dads bed eating HotelChocolat champagne hearts. The day Dan proposed is also a favourite memory. He TRICKED me and my parents were in on it too - I was in a foul mood on the day. I was working really hard prepping work for school and getting stressed then the next minute my mum stopped me and said that Dan had just phoned from town saying he was buying me some clothes for my birthday (which was weeks away) and that he wanted me to try some items on... I was REALLY not in the mood to shop but mum persuaded me that a break would be good. Dad drove us to "save on parking" and dropped me at the other side of town to where the shops that he would have been in were but ironically near to my favourite jewellers (the one that I ALWAYS dragged him to and I always looked in the windows when I went passed). Just out of sight was a nervous Dan and he popped out and said "I don't want to get it wrong. There's too many and if you want to be my wife, you'd better pick a ring." SHOCK OF MY LIFE! I wasn't expecting it at all and just that he put it like that was so typical of him lol. When we were on the way to his mum and dads he got on one knee at the place we first met (our old school) and "properly" proposed and we just giggled the whole way. I cried a lot! Another Favourite memory is sitting at the reception of my wedding day, my dad was doing his father of the bride speech and it was a mixture of having made it to that point, sharing it with so many people (that were purely there for me and Dan and because of us if that makes sense) and seeing a massive room filled with happy faces ready to party! It's hard to explain how it feels really, I have gained a lovely family when I married Dan. Two of our bridesmaids were his twin cousins and I love those girls so much. I love his whole family so much to be honest! - WOAH SORRY FOR THE ESSAY PEEPS!
Describe a day in your life:
Oh heck! It varies. I really need to write the blog about my illness really and it will make this part a bit clearer. I never quite know which way a day will go. On a "good" day I can pretty much live a "normal" life. An "average" day is a late wake up (due to medication), a little bit of housework and organising (usually from the night before), crocheting, occasional family visits, sometimes a nap if needed (due to medication) and then When Dan is home we always have "unwind time" where the day is offloaded and then we chill together or we occasionally go out. We've decided to start embracing the outdoors a little bit now the sun has started to pop out. I'm a bit of a child and we have a lovely little park area and a lake near us in walking distance so a chill on the swings is a perfect way to get some fresh air into my lungs!
What are your five favourite songs?
Ok, I thought this tag was going to be easy! since the colour question it's just getting harder lol. My fave music depends on my mood and the situation I'm in and my favourites can change on a flip of a coin lol.
1. One Day Like This - Elbow (It was our first dance song)
2. Salute - Little Mix (oh yeeeeeeah I'm a mixer haha)
3. A Bad Dream - Keane (It's spine chilling when they sing it live - I've seen them twice)
4. Magic - Coldplay
5. pretty much anything by Ed sheeran at the mo (sorry to be vague)

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cottage pie (a good way to have meat and veg in one meal - balanced diet - BOOM!)
What is something you really dislike?
Ignorant loud people (ie parent's that constantly shout down at their children to be "powerful" RUDE!!!)
Summer or Winter?
Summer. My conditions are much worse in the winter than the summer but I love the festivities and family time in the winter.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
I can never actually make my mind up so I think I'm safest staying put haha. The one place that I have visited lots and know that I would actually be happy in is Dorset. There are some absolutely stunning places and the way of life down there is so different to the life up here. There are dozens of places that I want to visit though!
Name five of your favourite films:
It's not that often that I watch a film. I don't really know why because I do like them - there are loads that I want to see and I don't really have any specific favourites but these are some that I have watched more than once and like a lot.
1. The three (yeah, Ok I cheated) Batman films with Christian Bale in.
2. The Sound of Music (I can near enough recite it due to over watching it)
3. 21 Jump Street
4. Forrest Gump
5. The Waterboy
If you won the lottery, what would you buy?
A "forever" home. One that is too big for two people to live in ;)
Favourite day of the week?
Sunday because it's the day I tend to have most quality time with Dan whether it be cuddling on the sofa, a spontaneous day out or time with family and friends.

What 3 things would you take to a desert island?
1. my meds

2. water purification system
3. This survival guide - haha

Sweet or Savoury?
At the moment I'd say sweet because I'm really loving fruity smoothies yum yum yum
Early Bird or Night Owl?
Definitely a night owl. I take my meds at 10pm which sometimes knocks me out within 30mins but only if I'm run down or feeling tired anyway. I am really bad in the mornings. Everything is an effort because of how my conditions affect me and the medications that I take just make me feel yucky. It might all change soon though so I will hopefully be able to say I'm am an all day person haha.
Name five of your favourite books:
1. The autobiography that my Grandad wrote and had published for the family before he died.

2. The diary of Anne Frank

3. Don't Wake The Bear, Hare (it's a children's book but when I was a teacher I loved to read it to my class and they loved it too)

4. The complete works of Beatrix Potter

5. The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

Favourite drink?
Robinsons Fruit and barley Apple and Pear flavour - it's delicious! I freeze a bottle of it concentrated and I also add a drop to my smoothies - yummy yummy!
Favourite animal?
Monkeys! My spare bedroom is a mix of Arsenal Football (for Dan), Monkeys (for me) and soon to be BTCC autographs (for both of us)

Who do you tag next?

Easy peasy - ANYONE of you that is reading this blog that has not already done this tag! Please Comment when/if you have done it and I will come and visit your page. If you don't have a blog, message me anyway and I'll message back as always :)

Thanks for this Tag Han, It's been flippin' hard going I'll tell ya! ha.



Wednesday, 11 June 2014

My surprise at the BTCC


In my last blog post I ended with a promise that I would write about a surprise that was deliberately leaked to me just before we went to see the touring car championships at Oulton Park in Cheshire.

Before I tell you about the surprise I will tell you a little bit about my interest in motorsport (but mainly the BTCC). Firstly I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, I love near enough anything fast, high and a little bit dangerous as long as it doesn't involve breaking any law. I don't have the chance to experience fast first hand since my illness was diagnosed but it doesn't stop me from loving the sounds, sights and smells (and occasionally the ground shake) from fast things.

Touring cars is my most recent interest really, well motorsport as a whole. Dan is really interested in all things car and he has been to see the touring car championships a few times at our most local track which is Donnington. We decided after my first live experience of motor racing earlier this year (as in not watching on TV) that it was actually quite a good way for us to spend a day together with a picnic and just chill out enjoying the atmosphere and buzz around the event. It's quite hard for me to explain really. At Donnington, my first time, we got a brill spot with a big screen opposite so we saw the TV coverage for the parts of the track that we couldn't actually physically see there. I guess it's like watching a music concert DVD, it's always better to be there in the audience than to be watching it at home! The fresh air also does me some good.
My cousin (confusingly also called Dan) is someone who from being very small I have been close to. There was a huge gap where we didn't see each other for one reason or another (mainly distance as he has always lived in Dorset and I was brought up in Nottinghamshire). Anyway, Dan (husband) and I had a holiday to Dorset not long after we got together which meant that I got to see a lot of the family that I hadn't seen for a long time and Dan (cousin) was one of those people! He's always been into cars, bikes and anything that made his hands oily and dirty! He's now a mechanic (no surprise there) and he's also a Marshall at the BTCC! He has a friend in the west surrey racing ebay motors team and when he found out that (hubby) Dan and I were going to Oulton Park, he managed to get us a garage tour and meet and greet with the drivers. My Dan let me read the message thread from cousin Dan which explained it all! The words he wrote really touched me and my Dan timed it perfectly because I was worried that I was going to be too sick to actually enjoy any of the races! I double checked that all of my meds were packed just because I knew I wasn't "tip - top". When I first saw the paddock at I was like "that's so cool" but when we actually got to the garage and met "little Pete" as he was refered to on the ITV4 coverage I honestly felt like a VIP! There we were having our bags taken off us and being offered drinks, taken around the garage, looking around and touching the cars and then meeting the drivers as if they knew us - well, they kind of did - they had been told about me before I even got there!!! It was insane! I got really weepy when my cousin messaged me with "have you had a good morning then?" I know that to some people it wouldn't be a big deal but for me and (husband) Dan it was just such a lovely thought. It came out of the blue and it is something that I treasure so much.

The whole day was fantastic and I just feel so blessed that I have the best people in my life that drag me through the worst of times even when they aren't always aware of how bad it actually is.

If you want to know the drivers we met then you can search for Colin Turkinton, Rob Collard and Nick Foster BTCC.

Well, can you believe it? Two blogs in one day? I'm going to get working on the getting to know me tag next... I don't know when that will be... It will be soon!

Until next time,

Toodles Noodles :)


Family days are the best!

Hiya everyone,

My heads all a bit of a mush today but I want to write. I have been feeling utterly rubbish for a few days now and today is the first day that I've felt able to stare at a screen for long enough to type.

Let me bring you up to date a bit...
I had some really good days last week which meant that I got to spend some quality time with my sister, Bex and my nephew, Little Boo. Dan was on night shifts too so it meant that we all got to hang out in the afternoons and spend some lovely family time together. We took little boo to an ice cream factory not too far from where we live. You can read about the place here. It has a little shop and tea room and it's set is lovely open fields. I had a chocolate dipped cone with two scoops (one of Turkish delight and one mint) YUM YUM I still can't say which my favourite ice cream is from there as all of the ones I've tried are delicious! I remember one of my friends making a comment about somewhere being a "proper ice cream place" if they do Pistachio ice cream and this place does it!!! They had some chickens in a coop (more like a luxury chicken hotel) and Little Boo was fascinated by them. My cousin has chickens at his house that are free range and Little Boo has "met" them but only when he was very small so we weren't quite sure if he would remember. Anyway, after ice creams we took him down to the coop to show him the chickens and he was in complete awe. I think to a degree we all were as one of them was absolutely HUGE but Boos little face was a picture! He stood for a good five minutes waving and pointing at them just saying "mama ook uff". We think he was saying uff because there were also two dogs that had arrived previously to us seeing the chickens and he was saying woof because he says that to his dog at home. We kind of did tea in reverse that day as we had ice creams at the factory then we came back for tea before Dan had to go to work. Bex and Boo stayed for a while after Dan had gone. We had all the toys out and Boo had a bath, Bex and I tried our hardest to wear Boo out but he actually beat us and wore us (well, me) out first haha. I will probably keep saying this over and over throughout my blogs and I'm sorry for being slushy but I honestly can not believe how much love I feel for that boy. He is literally the most amazing creation I have ever seen! I loved him beyond words when he was born but somehow as he's got bigger and older and a little bit cheeky I love him more and more - I think when it's my turn to be a mummy I might just actually be impossible for myself to deal with! lol.

While I was still feeling good I also managed to sort my jumble of make up out. I bought myself a muji style organiser from BHS and then went to TK Maxx and found pretty much the same things for a lot less! I still kept the BHS one because it was being used and I still needed the extra organiser... I made up for the expensive purchase by getting a clip lid box from IKEA to put my cotton pads and buds in... it's actually really really useful. We got a second one to store our Tassimo pods in! So, I feel a little better that for at least the spare room (where I tend to do my make up) is more organised. I've also made a start on my office/music room. I managed to get a paper drawer from IKEA which normally costs £20 for £1.50 as it was the last one on the shelf. See here's a hint for anyone that shops at IKEA, if there's something you like and want/need and it's the last one on the shelf go and speak to a member of staff - the bargain corner isn't just for their pre decided items!! ;-) I managed to get my friend a £1.50 bargain too and she was absolutely gobsmacked! KERCHING!! My paper drawer organiser is currently being used to keep my hospital letters in correct piles for filing (that might be my job after I've written this post), envelopes and stamps, my pile of crochet patterns to file and lastly a pack of printing paper.

On Thursday last week (5th June) I went on a little trip out with my parents, Bex and Boo... We went and bought Boo his first Bike from Chesterfield. (You can see which one we got him here). There was some weird stuff going on with the traffic, Apparently the M1 had been closed due to a lorry accident (hope everyone involved were ok) and then literally about 10 cars in front of us there was a real life police drama occurring. I wasn't fully "with it" to get what happened but basically there was an unmarked, blacked out people carrier and a smaller Mercedes looking car with police people in that just bailed out and jumped a car and grabbed something from the central reservation - CRAZY! The driver from the car in front of us got out to take pictures I think. It all happened very fast! Anyway, back to the bike. Uncle Dan built it because Boo's Daddy was at work and obviously a little boy can not wait for such a thing as a go on his first bike hehe. It is a gift to him from Me, Dan and my parents. Dan and I have decided to give him half of his Christmas gift now so that he can enjoy it during the summer and then when it comes to Christmas we will get him Christmassy gifts too and as his birthday is February so we just feel that it's nice for him to have something in the summer to play with. As he gets bigger we will probably just get him something for Christmas and his birthday but while we can spoil him, we will :) - we know to spoil and not to ruin though! Speaking of being spoilt - My mum bought me some benefit make up during our trip out... She got me a gift set AND the "that gal" primer... I will review it when I've tried it.
So after some really amazing days I headed down the slope a bit, I started to be less able to do simple things like walk up the stairs at home so I tried very hard to have a down day on the Friday because we have had British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) tickets booked for a while so I was determined I was going to Oulton Park on Sunday!
On Saturday I was still feeling on the wrong side of right but I knew there was a number of things I HAD to do. It ended up being a crazy busy day and we had a trip to Meadowhall in Sheffield and trips to both parents houses, food shopping AND preparing for a trip to Oulton Park which isn't a trip next door! I was Shattered! Dan was great though and he actually let me into a little secret which made me cry, smile and feel super, super loved!

I'll write about that in my next post ... I might write it later today (or at least start writing it later today).

I'm enjoying this writing malarkey. It's good to just sit for an hour or so and focus on the good stuff. The Oulton Park blog will be next up... I don't think it will be as much of an essay as this or my previous blogs.

Oh, and not forgetting that Hannie has tagged me in a getting to know you type of blog... I'm going to post that up soon too!

Until next time,
Toodles Noodles :)

Monday, 2 June 2014

The Milk Race 2014

Hello again!

I am sorry it's taken me just over a week to write this blog and get it up but I have had hospital appointments and all sorts of things keeping me busy that it has taken until today to finally put the photos on my computer and sort the blog out. So here it is!

Please do not be fooled by the title of this blog. I have not taken up some crazy "run around a field chasing cows and trying to milk them" kind of thing. Hmm, in a cartoon that would be quite funny but definitely not something I would consider in real life! The milk race doesn't REALLY involve racing with milk at all... There was a lot of free milk/milkshake/fruit juices (errrrm, yep there was apple and orange juice) and basically a lot of dairy based products. This is because the milk race is actually a cycling race that is supported/sponsored by the dairy council. You can read about its history here.

So basically, in a nutshell, after many years of there not being a race, it was decided that there will be a new format and it will be held in Nottingham! It was a big success and the organisers and sponsors decided to do it again this year. Now, I am married to a bit of a cycle fan - He was always into bikes when we were at school and basically he has never lost interest in mountain bikes and more recently has got into (and is VERY good at) road cycling. Just yesterday he went on a 57mile ride and then had a "normal" afternoon with me and my family (including a very active little boo) - what a NUTTER! haha!

Admittedly, I do not know a lot about cycling, and less about team cycling or the sports science involved (there is a science?). Saying that, I am able to appreciate the sport and fitness level needed for such an endurance event (I'm talking about the elite races when I talk about this - anyone can do the community and family rides) - it was INCREDIBLE!

Ok, so our day started with a drive to the tram (park and ride) at Hucknall. We got out of the car and straight onto the tram just before it was leaving (great timing). Just as the tram was leaving, the conductor person came and asked for tickets. I was stood with my purse "two returns to Nottingham please" - him: "oh, we don't take money on the tram anymore. You have to buy your tickets at the stop. What you have to do is get off at the next stop and buy your tickets there" WHAAAAAT?! Luckily it wasn't a problem because we had a nice conductor but there were no signs at the tram stop (or at any others). The conductor was lovely and asked the driver to wait for a little while at the next stop. He also showed me what to do with the new ticket machines. I noticed the sign which said 5 for£5 which was a saver return ticket for 5 people (BARGAIN)! At last I wasn't breaking the rules by not having a ticket (I felt very unsettled until that point - partly because of the rush and the lack of ticket and partly because I was on a backward facing seat which always makes me feel a bit 'bleugh'). Dan spotted a front seat and inner peace was restored lol. I'm so glad that we had a lovely conductor because the big official (and very mean looking) ticket officials got on the tram on the next stop - PHEW!

We got off the tram at The Royal Centre (where it terminated for the day) and took the very short walk to the old market square where all of the cycling (and "milk action") was going to take place. We arranged to meet Dan's Auntie and Uncle but had half an hour to spare so we found a comfy little spot right after the finish line to watch the 'Advanced' group of riders. The "official" Robin Hood was stood opposite us and it was his job to start and finish the races for the day. So in the advanced ride, there were some boys that looked half my age riding bikes that are worth half the cost of my car! They were thrashing their legs and wobbling their little helmet wearing heads from side to side and they just had the look of warriors on their faces as they tried to beat each other over that chalk line! That alone was entertaining for me and it was lovely to see the passion and determination to just do the best they possibly could FOR FUN! It was highlighted that there was no actual race until the elite women's and elite men's races. It was more of a fun day for cyclists of all ages and abilities to be able to ride the exact course as elite riders which included Olympians and very experienced riders. Also, no one was allowed to ride the course if they didn't have a helmet. That was something I really liked to hear.

Just as the 'community' ride started, the familiar faces of Dan's Auntie and Uncle turned up. Followed by an old man with an OWL on his shoulder! He wasn't anything to do with the event, he just went for a walk with his dog and owl - what a wonderfully random place Nottingham city centre can be! We watched the community ride from our little spot at the finish line. There was a man on a penny farthing type of bike but I think it was a modern take on a penny farthing and a lady dressed head to toe in 50's attire (apart from the helmet) and rode a Pendleton style bike. She had me giggling. She looked like something from an old film/postcard and got the record for cycling the slowest. She did it deliberately as if she was having a gentle cycle in the park. I was worried that her skirt was going to get caught to be honest!
After the community ride we had a wander into the "inner circle" where they were giving out freebies. Dan and his Uncle spent some time talking to the man at the Raleigh stand (a good old Nottingham firm) and they liked the team bike which only£5,000. annoys me! Something that I thought was awesome was the pedal powered entertainment. They had a tent with spinning bikes in and a DJ with the PA system. It was up to the public (and celebrities) to keep the music going for the day! It looked like great fun!

After Auntie H and I did a loo rekkie (her - M&S. Me - Debenhams) we went to Uncle A's viewing recommendation. It's where Dan had suggested but I had a bit of an obsession with the finish line (in athletics that's what you want to see ok?!) We were pretty glued to that spot until the end of the day. We caught the end of the family ride which was lovely to see. There were children racing down the finishing straight, trying try to beat their parents/siblings. Laura Trott joined in with this ride too ahead of her elite race... what a sport! The person that completely stole the show for me though was 3 and a half year old Ollie who had spent 20 minutes cycling on a little bike with no pedals! It was all walking/running type cycling. Now when I was working in a special school, I used to go up the corridor every day on an office chair (which was on wheels) whilst helping a little boy to walk! It absolutely thrashes your thighs and bum! Little Ollie will have legs like a machine when he's a bigger boy if he keeps that up! haha

The crowd around the course seemed to just appear from nowhere as the time for the women's elite race came. It seemed like one minute we were chilling and munching a sandwich in our own company and then all of a sudden I was stood amongst strangers and having to scooch the rucksack and coat towards the barrier to make space.
The warm up laps were interesting to watch as it appears that team talks still go ahead during that late phase... I don't really know what I am talking about but it seemed quite "teamy" as they were in team bunches. They could have just been commenting on my floral coat or what was on TV the night before for all I know haha. It was incredible to see how close professional cyclists get to each other in competition. As I said before, I don't know a lot about cycling, I wont pretend to. I try to take on board all of the key stuff Dan when he tells me but some things I just don't get hehe. I know what bits of the bikes are but I do not for the life of me get the whole team cycling thing. I'm with the athletics mentality that if you enter a race you race for you or your club or region but you race to blinking win. I have had to learn to keep that opinion to myself when I am watching team cycling though. I guess bikes and endurance races are just not my bag yet - I want to learn though haha.

So the names that you might know if you watched any of the Olympics/Paralympics

Dame Sarah Storey
Dani King
Laura Trott

Dani King and Sarah Storey missed out on podium places due to an incident where Sarah came off and managed to get back on the bike causing lost time and Dani got held up in an incident which caused "mechanical issues".

The Podium was 3rd Charlotte Becker, 2nd Laura Trott and the WINNER was Katie Archibald.

I managed to watch the post race interviews and take some photos of Laura supping the milk from the bottle (the gift that is traditionally given).

Unfortunately, I didn't pay much attention to my battery life and I pretty much zapped it so there's only got a few snaps of the elite men's race with Ed Clancy. It was stopped very early on due to a very nasty accident where Joe Giggins came off and what looks like he was knocked out. I know that from where we stood, we could only see the big screen and listen to the commentary. Everyone on the track looked extremely nervous and eventually some of the cyclists started to filter back to the start line. When Dan and I got home we were able to watch the race back and we saw Joe hit the barrier and then basically someone started helping him. We knew at this point that he was okay though. It was announced to us after the race that he had been taken to hospital and somehow he was actually ok. PHEW! So, back to the race. Eventually, it restarted. Now, I thought the womens race start was crammed but my heck I have never in my days seen anything like it! I think if I was in the middle of all of them I would have literally had a melt down and screamed. It was just all man and bike and feet and legs and arms and I'm sweating typing it because it was really just a crazy scramble of human man and metal bike with rubber bits of tyre! URGH! Annnnnd BREATHE!

The result of the elite men's race was 3rd - Matt Cronshaw 2nd - Matthew Boulo and WINNER Graham Briggs. (You can read what he said to the Nottinghamshire Post after the race here).

I have to say, if you have never seen a critirium race it's definitely worth going to. The milk race was a free day out (minus travel and food) and it was highly entertaining. As someone who really doesn't "get it" I can honestly say there wasn't a moment that I was uninterested or bored. If you really don't like it when you get there (which I highly doubt) there is Patisserie Valerie just up Smithy Row (highly recommended) or any number of shops or tourist attractions in Nottingham that you could visit should you wish.
I felt that the safety of the spectators AND riders was effectively enforced and the security team that were near me for the elite races were really good with the pubic - they gave plenty of notice for track opening and were generally really thoughtful towards the spectators.
I got to spend a day with my lovely Dan and his relatives and it's not very often that I get to enjoy what he enjoys (cycling) due to my illness (I can't go out and join him on a ride) so all in all we had a great time. I definitely want to go again so hope it becomes an annual fixture!

Here's a little collage of some of the pictures I took before my battery fizzled out.

The Milk Race 2014

Do you have any free or low-cost events that happen near to where you live? Free/ cheap family days out are often the best days out don't you think?

Until next time,

Toodles Noodles