Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Emma Olivia 1st Class Honours WOO!

It was another proud day for the Jolly Hollies at Drake's Graduation.
We took the back roads to Wrexham to Glyndwr University and arrived in plenty of time for the nice lady to gown and cap our third genius.

Naturally, big sis helped with the finer details (while proud Dad looked on to make sure it all met with his approval) 

And here she is, our youngest genius. Brains. Beauty. And a tassle.

The ceremony took place in the William Aston Hall in the University itself and we had superb seats right by the stage on row C.

The stage was colourful (and full of important people!) 

"You see this hand?" points to right hand  "Do you remember this hand?" points again and more emphatically to right hand..."Well it is still here"


We had a nice chat to the Chancellor, Sir Jon Shortridge 

and enjoyed some beautiful harp playing by a very smiley harpist. It was a massive harp.

Official business over and it was time to burst with the proudness.

We have now been to three Graduation ceremonies, one in English (Twin 1) one in Latin (Twin 2) and as this ceremony was in Wales... one in Welsh. The welsh speaker had the most wonderful voice and I commented on her talent to Drake's ceramics lecturer who told me she was employed by the Uni as an Orator... it was HER JOB to be such a beautiful speaker.

Drake with the Welsh Dragon

Our newly graduated daughter positively floated down the staircase,

and then went outside to toss her cap.

She was awarded a First Class Honours Degree in Applied Arts  and she specialized in GLASS  starting with small experimental pieces like these two...

and then producing her "Final Piece" - three gorgeous light boxes.

In her free time she makes jewellery too.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Will Elliot Reg Stretton

Will Elliot Reg Stretton

This little chappie is only 3 hours old on this photo. Can you BELIEVE  his mummy did my spinning class just 48 hours earlier, with him in her tummy!!!! How amazing is THAT!! How did she reach the handlebars? Will was actually present at my spinning class for the whole 9 months of his womb-life so it was only right and proper for him to have a name plaque and a Christmas stocking.

He was good weight - 7lb 13oz - and he didn't cause too much trouble entering the world..he presumably was looking forward to some peace and quiet after 9 months of hill climbs, sprints, hovers and loud music.

I went to see him today and he is growing fast. Maybe, just maybe, he's my future class??!! (Yikes, I doubt my knees will last that long but you've got to think positive haven't you)

Congratulations to Lisa and Chad- I'll see you BOTH (!!) at my class again very sooooooooon!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Portimao, Algarve. Oct half term

It was a choice between painting the house and a cheeky week in Portugal...

We had spent the day in Praia da Rocha (beach of Portimao) on our way back from the Canaries last summer, so when we saw the last minute offer of a week in their 2nd most prestigious hotel, we didn't hesitate. All thoughts of housepainting went on hold (I'll get a little man round) (??!!) and we were off!

Hand luggage only is the WAY-TO-GO. 
Far less queueing at the airport and no dithering about what to wear, it's either this or that.
(Ryanair from Manchester to Faro)

We upgraded to a room with a seaview when we got there and it was SOOOOO worth it. 

View from our balcony

From our balcony, looking right

It was nice to just SIT
With a name like this, how could I fail to walk in!! I needed a carrier bag with ALISUPER on! So we bought a couple of toothbrushes and some toothpaste and it was very super!

Were Chester schools the only schools on half term??? The enormous, spectacular beaches were deserted - I had Husb humming Chris de Burgh's  ♪ ♪ "There is nothing quite like ♪ an Out of Season ♪ holiday town in the rain" ♪ ♪ all day because there was hardly a soul there. We had the beach to ourselves. =)

Steps to nowhere!

ok there were 2 more peeps on the beach!!

Hotel da Rocha was immaculate. Even after we brought towels full of sand off the beach...even when we had to go under the bed for a flipflop.... it was so clean. It is in the perfect location, right on the seafront and it and has friendly, helpful and pleasant, staff.  
I could have done with a kettle though. I had to test my skills at mashing up tea in the microwave! Unbelievably, I became a bit of an expert at it!

We watched the surfers for a while, they seemed to be just standing on the water.

View back to the beach from the lighthouse.


OK it isn't Las Vegas but there were some pretty lights!

Whoever would have thought hot banana on pizza would be so delish?

With the clouds forming and the rain looming, there was no point in hanging around, so we took a train to Lagos, just up the coast. It was full of cows and men ♪ forever blowing bubbles ♪ pretty bubbles in the air... I bet he supports West Ham...

...and we would have walked around the city walls (they didn't look a patch on Chester's!! haha) but suddenly the weather improved dramatically!! =) so we stripped down to our undergarments, (oooeeerrr) pegged out my cagoule to lie on (eeks) and had an hour of sun on the beach. =)
(Well we weren't going to see anyone we knew...)

Just the other side of the Portimao Old Bridge are a few fish restaurants which had been highly recommended to us, and because we were on yet another cloudy day, we thought  Lets Just Do IT so we ordered Grilled Sardines and Grilled Prawns 

and after several mouthfuls of bones....I finally got the hang of it. The bits I managed were totes delish but they were an art to eat.   I have to say, though, I did better than the lady behind me who looked to be having a complete mare with the whole sardine malarky.

Anyway, tropical pizzas, sardines and prawns need burning off!

Time for my HIGHLIGHT of the holiday!!!!



I went under and over.  I jumped them. I dived through them. I tried to swim with them.
I was tossed and tumbled and I LOVE LOVE LOVED it and then I remembered how old I was, eeeekkksss! 

Brilliant brilliant fun. And no-one else was in the sea with me.
All that water all to myself!

My Husb really should be a professional photographer you know. 
He's made my legs look really slim on this!

And one must always ALWAYS seek the opportunity to perform a plank =)

Doesn't the sea look sparkly here!

At last we had BLUE SKY!!!
 ♪please tell me why ♪ you had to hide away ♪ for so long ♪ sooooo long ♪ oooo-ooh ♪

so we made the long walk (!!) down to the beach

and had yet more A-MAYYYYY-ZING fun in the waves
(did wonders for my hair)

which was the perfect end to a fun week. There was never a dull moment and it was extremely  
Hooty-In-Parts!! We managed to do plenty without actually doing much!!

Went in the sea
Went ten pin bowling (oh yes, I won!)
Walked back from Portimao 3 different ways
Went in the Hotel pool
Ate grilled sardines
Attempted to eat chicken PIRI PIRI
Went by train to Lagos
Went in a taxi and on a bus
Went jogging along the boardwalk
Went down to the lighthouse
and changed colour very slightly.