Sunday, December 9, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
In a city that is more famous for it's gun crime, hooded outlaw and it's once footballing European champions, ice hockey is almost like the forgotten sport of Nottingham.
What's more surprising is that the Nottingham Panthers team, was first formed in 1946, yet it's only now in 2007 that I came to be at the Ice Stadium for my first ever ice hockey match.
'To watch an ice hockey match' is no. 31 on my list of 40 things to do before I'm 40 and was also the 6th item on my list to be completed. What better match to choose from then against the Sheffield Steelers (the footballing equivalent of Forest v Derby local derby).
From the moment I stepped into the ice stadium the scene was set for an incredible night. Our seats were positioned on the front row adjacent to the ice and the Sheffield Steelers fans were positioned to our left, which created an awesome atmosphere. The fan base was just incredible. The stadium itself was full to capacity and the passion for the sport was evident throughout both sets of supporters. The passion was certainly something I didn't expect. After going to the football for many seasons and feeling very passionate about that, I don't think ice hockey would be something I would personally get passionate over but people did and especially the women! There was some excellent examples of scary women there, non more scary than the girl who was obviously a girlfriend of one of the players, that rushed to the front and started banging on the glass, shouting "get off him you b*****d" when she saw her other half being beaten up by the apposing player.
One other good thing about the position of our seats was that it gave you a true indication of the velocity and speed, the players moved along the ice at and also made you aware of how physical the game was, bordering on the lines of being agressive. It certainly is not a game for wimps!
Although we came out the losers (2:1 to the Steelers), I thoroughly enjoyed my first ever ice hockey match and it would be certainly something that I would do again in the near future.
Friday, September 7, 2007
It took me most of the next day and a trip to Alcatraz for me to begin to settle into this strange city. People had said that it rates higher than New York, but personally I have to say I prefer the Big Apple. Alcatraz was amazing, though a little over crowded with tourists - if I ever go back I would definitely do the night tour, as I would imagine it gets really eerie once dark.
Hawaii was the second destination on our honeymoon and as we took out of Vegas as fast as we possibly could and boarded the 5 hr flight to Oahu, we were a little hesitant to what to expect. As we drove through the back streets of Oahu, the approach appeared to be similar to that of Vegas and my heart started to sink somewhat - I just couldn't cope with another hotel like the one in Vegas! But fear not! The Hotel was wonderful, the room was great and we even had a sea view, what more could you wish for!
I had been warned that the island was very built up and not as remote as it may seem, of which it was, but somehow it doesn't take away the magic of the island - it's just so beautiful. One thing that struck me about the native people was the laid back attitude that they all had. It was so soothing after being in a pressure cooker of a place like Vegas. They have a saying 'just hang loose' and they do literally that! The only frustrating part is when you are waiting for a taxi or coach to take you there and then it arrives 45 minutes after the pre booked time - they are just so relaxed it's untrue!
Places of interest that we visited; Pearl Harbour - personally did nothing for me, found it very over rated and not worth queuing at 7:15am just to get in. I do feel compassion for all of those who died, but just didn't appeal to me! Paradise Cove - a traditional Luau, complete with tour guide that keep saying 'cheerio old chap' every time someone mentioned England? No, I wasn't quite sure what century he was living in as well! This was a wonderful experience where you got to witness at first hand the traditional games and crafts and also watch a traditional island style show. Of course we had to be sitting next to the most annoying woman ever, that reminded me of the old lady from There's Something About Mary - you know the one that looks like a wrinkled prune! Sea Life Park - probably one of the best sea life parks I've visited and gives you the opportunity to view all the sea life in close proximity. Also gave me chance to check the honesty of the people around me, as I decided to leave my brand new digital camera on a bench, of which a kind Japanese tourist handed it in to the lost & found. Hawaii Volcano Adventure - sometimes you just have to do the traditional tourist thing and this tour of the big island gave you the opportunity to view volcanoes and the terrain that NASA used to train astronauts. Oahu Island Tour - for a film/TV geek like me this was superb! Not only did this give us a tour of the beautiful island, you also got to see places that were used to film Fantasy Island, Magnum (we knew it was for this show, due to the huge moustache over the gate post), Jurassic Park and Lost. At one point we actually got to see the plane that is used to film the scenes in Lost. Wow, I hear you saying, but it made my day!
As I was dragged, kicking and screaming from Oahu, I would definitely go back . It was just an amazing place, the stuff that dreams are made of!
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Arriving at the strip early evening after a 10 hr flight from the UK, we saw the Mirage and the Treasure Island and started to get quite excited. Okay, it looked like Disney Land on acid, but hey it was better that what I had anticipated. Then we started to pull out of the main strip and away from all of the expensive hotels and into the seedier district, past the massage parlours, sex shops and hey presto there was our Hotel - I was not a happy bunny! Inside was like something out of the 1970's and our room was very basic, no drink making facilities or anything fancy to say, hey this is your honeymoon, have a good time in Vegas on us. We ordered room service that night and 2 days later the remains still stayed outside our room in 94 degrees heat. It wasn't until we went to our welcome meeting next day that we realised all the rooms were like this, designed for you to constantly stay out of your room and gamble in these glorious casinos. Ha! Well the plan failed, let me tell you! Not once did we part with our well earned dosh, not even to slip the odd quarter in a smoke infested slot machine! We did however, part with our cash in the wonderful shopping malls of Caesars Palace, so I guess they got it back from us in some shape or form, but hey, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo - who cares?
Monday, August 27, 2007
With the help of EBay, a boxed set of all his films was duly purchased and East of Eden became the first film I watched. Adapted from the classic John Steinbeck novel, East of Eden tells the story of the prodigal son, played by Dean, trying to make his Father love him as much as his older brother. A convincing performance by Dean, that set the trend of angst ridden roles for him and perhaps drew on true life to accomplish his method acting skills.
Giant was the next film on my list. An epic film co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, Dean plays a smaller part in this film, another 'outsider' role, a reclusive, alcoholic ranch hand that suddenly comes into money, after finding oil on the land he has inherited.
Rebel Without A Cause, was the third and last of the Dean trilogy. Dean plays the new kid on the block, that doesn't quite fit in with the all American crowd and features the oh so famous and hugely copied car race scene. The biggest of all Dean's roles in any of his films and the most poignant, when you think, that after a film career just spanning one year and three films, he died so tragically.
So did he live up to his hype? From a t-shirt clad idol that he once was portrayed to myself, I saw in the three films a dark and brooding individual, that we never perhaps saw the true potential of. His image is so familiar to us, that when his films are watched for the first time, it's like saying hello to an old friend. It's hard to say that if he had lived, would he be as famous as he is now, but certainly watching and appreciating the era in which his films where made, proves that his acting does stand the test of time, if only he had lived to see this himself.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
So off I went to the Broadway in Nottingham with my friend, Frenchy Phil (so called because his name is Phil and well he likes anything French) and the film he chose for us to watch, that was to become my first ever foreign film, was Paris Je T'aime. I didn't know alot about this film and as we settled down to watch it, Frenchy Phil confessed that he had seen it at least four times, which hopefully meant it was either very good or there was a serious amount of naked dancing girls involved. Thankfully it was the first.
What followed next, took my breath away. Eighteen short films, depicting a different metropolis of Paris, each celebrating the city of love in it's own unique way. Twenty different directors and a cast of celebrities, took me through an amazing array of Parisian streets, sights and sounds. For nearly 2 hours, I ate, slept and breathed the delights of this romantic city and it left me wanting more. So many short films in a small amount of time. On paper, it sounded immensely strange but it worked so well and the fact that a whole story was told in ten minutes dispelled my loathing of short stories. I came out of the film in awe of such a beautiful piece of cinematography and the fact that I've now fallen in love with this beautiful, romantic city, that I can't wait to experience it for myself.
More hanging about at the airport prevailed (why are Americans never on time with anything??) Then the first 12 seater plane that we got in to had a fault on it, which didn't really instill you with any confidence that we were going to get to the Canyon in one piece (especially when the remaining passengers were all getting oh so nervous). So after yet another delay, we were put into another plane (at least I think it was a different plane??!!) and off we went. Now I have to confess, I'm not very good with heights, especially when I don't feel particularly safe, but thankfully the plane ride was a smooth one and once I had peeled my finger tips off from gripping the seat, I allowed myself to look out of the window. The views were breathtaking, there are no other words to describe them, other than that! To look down and see this magnificent wonder was just amazing! The only disappointment being that we were way too far to appreciate the impressive structure of the Hoover Dam, but just witnessing the Grand Canyon from the air was sufficient.
We landed at a small airport just outside of Eagle Rock and from there we caught a coach to the Skywalk. Having time on our hands before it opened, we surveyed the impressive scenery around us - it was just breathtaking! To actually walk right to the edge and look over the Grand Canyon was unbelievable. As for the Skywalk, well! After only managing to put a toe or two on the glass floor of the CN Tower at Toronto, I have to say that was nothing compared to this! Oh my goodness did I cling to the side! At one point we were looking 2000ft down to the Canyon - this did not feel natural at all and the fact you had to wear rubber booties to protect the glass did not help.
Then another bus ride, saw us stop at an Indian reservation and have brunch sitting by the Grand Canyon before we hopped on the plane back again. I have to say the plane journey was like no other I had experienced. I spent the whole flight with my finger nails glued to the seat and the thought of 'I'm too young to die'. My newly appointed husband rested a hand on my shoulder in a no doubt 'I'll protect you' sort of way. What he doesn't realise is that I was clinging onto his hand in a 'if I'm going down, you're coming with me' sort of way.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
If I were to invest in such shoes, I decided that they must indeed be for a very special occasion and as I'd spent the last eighteen months organising my wedding, which was, to say the least, a little stressful at times, I decided that I would look to invest in pair of Jimmy Choos on my honeymoon. Of course, such things as Jimmy Choo shoes can only be deemed as 'investments' and never as a purchase, they are too high in the order of adornment for that.
So there I stood in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, looking longingly at the beautiful array of shoes before me. I had to pick a pair that I would use on a regular basis, that would be worth the amount that I was spending. There would be nothing too Princessey on this occasion, I'm afraid, as my budget would not allow it. Then I found them. A beautiful pair of black open toe, high heeled sandals, which had my name written all over them. As I tried them on, I now knew what Cinderella felt when she tried on the glass slipper. They fitted like a glove and they were the most exquisite pair of shoes I had ever set my eyes upon. I felt like a million dollars!
I held my breath for what seemed an eternity as the shop assistant wrapped them in endless amounts of tissue paper, before placing them within the Jimmy Choo cardboard shoe box and then in the ribbon adorned bag. It was at that precise moment, that my bank decided to put a temporary hold on my credit card. I didn't panic, in fact I was quite calm, although inside my heart was pumping ten to the dozen. There were several options open to me at this point; a) I could batter my big brown eyes at my husband and ask him to pay, b) I could hold off until the card cleared and hope and pray it was only a precautionary measure as my balance had been nil before my holiday. Well as my husband had just parted with his well earned cash on a Louis Vuitton handbag for me, I decided to sit and wait for the card to clear.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
For some strange reason I had not bothered to see any of the trilogy at the cinema - probably because it was marketed as the equivalent to a bar of yorkie (i.e. not for girls!) and the fact that I had tried to read the book at the age of eleven and given up after the first couple of chapters, aided my decision to give it a miss. But just like a book, when I know from the opening page whether I will enjoy it or not, the opening scene began in the first of the trilogy and I was hooked.
What prevailed before me, within the next three hours, were a heady mix of fantasy, breathtaking scenery and a huge sense of why oh why had I not gone to see this on the big screen. I loved it! The cinematography was captivating, the fantasy mesmerizing and oh did I mention it also had Sean Bean (what more could a woman ask for?) The hobbits were unimaginable cute and the mix of humour/drama were equal in measure and entertainment. And the best thing of all was that I had a whole two more DVDs to watch in the series that would carry on this magical experience and after completion of those, suffice to say that they did not disappoint either.
The whole purpose of the trilogy is to show how one beautiful object (the ring) can affect the behaviour of individuals in its possession. Quite fitting, I thought, that I too am in the possession of a beautiful ring that strangely enough seems to have affected the behaviours of others around me. A friend that I have known for a few years has not spoken to me since I announced my engagement, fuelled by the fact that I now have something that she has always wanted. Strange that something can bring such happiness yet evoke such jealousy amongst people.
So my first task is over, on my list of 40 things to do. I had decided that there would be no order in how I do things, I would either randomly pick something or inevitably it would pick me and The Lord Of The Rings did the latter. Now to work out, which one I do next……
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
So over a matter of weeks, I began to make a list. Of course, this would be a list like no other list before it. A list of gigantic proportions, a list that when people took the time to read it, would definitely ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ over. The list began to grow and grow and before I knew it, a few points turned into, well forty aptly and could have grown even more, but forty seemed like quite a good number, so the list remained there. Not that it was easy to compile this, you understand. I had to get the right combination of achievable/challenging things and it had to have a few of ‘I’ve always wanted to do that’ scenarios mixed in as well.
There were also a few tasks that as soon as I had written them down, I immediately crossed out. ‘To be thin’ was one of them, after some hesitation, I just thought it was too superficial to be included within this list, when there are so many more meaningful things I could achieve.
From shopping to flying to meeting Mr T – I think I have covered every avenue that I can think of and if I had to pick a favourite amongst the forty things, than it would have to be working in Africa. I first fell in love with Africa as a young girl, watching the Born Free films and more recently had my love affair fuelled by the emergence of ‘Mission Africa’ where fifteen young trainees are building a game reserve and eco lodge in the region of Sera.
So here I am with a list of ‘forty things to do before I’m forty’ and well just over four and a half years to achieve them. I have to admit at this point, that my track record of actually sticking with something is not good. I stayed with the Girl Guides for the sum total of one day and decided that three days was more than enough to spend at Sixth Form College, after planning to go there all summer, so the odds are stacked against me. But I have developed a strange determination to complete this and a gut feeling that this may well change my life. I don’t want to be one of those people in ten years times, that have regrets, nor do I want to be one of those people, bemoaning, that ‘I wish I had done that’. So ‘forty things to do before I’m forty’ begins now – wish me luck!