50 Days until the Olympics 2012

June 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Olympic Torch banner

Today marks 50 days until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games and also the 20th day of the Olympic Torch Relay. Last time I posted about the Torch Relay it had travelled through Stoke-On-Trent and the surrounding area.

Since its travels through North Staffordshire the Torch has made its way through the North West, visiting Bolton, Southport and home of The Beatles, Liverpool. It then flew to the Isle of Man where torchbearers travel around the island with the Olympic Torch before heading to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

olympic torch giants causeway

Olympic Torch at Giants Causeway

Whilst in Ireland the Torch Relay ventured to the beautiful Giants Causeway, Londonderry and Dublin whilst been carried by various well known torchbearers. Today the Irish comedian, Patrick Kielty carried the torch and Irish Olympic Boxers, Wayne McCullough and Michael Carruth had the honour of carrying the flame yesterday.

A more random choice of torchbearer was X-Factor and Eurovision Song Contest competitors, Jedward, who ran through central Dublin with the flame. Although the Irish twins have little connection to sport their appearance at the Torch Relay was a real crowd pleaser and helped to bring the Olympic 2012 spirit to Ireland.

With a boost of excitement from last weekend’s Diamond Jubilee and only 50 days to go, anticipation for the London 2012 Olympic Games is starting to grow and I am certainly looking forward to the start of the Games.

Annette’s Websites of the Week- Love Food Hate Waste, Royal Horticultural Society, Olympic Torch Relay

May 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Love Food Hate Waste- This week I’ve been sharing some of my favourite veggie recipes for National Vegetarian Week. On the search for veggie dishes I visited the Love Food Hate Waste website which is packed full of handy ways to prevent food and drink waste with top tips and fantastic recipes that use up food you might have otherwise thrown away.

As someone who really enjoys food I’m conscious about trying to get the most out of my groceries so LFHW’s website is perfect for me. I like the recipe search tool which uses categories according to the ingredients you have and the type of meal you want to make- a quick breakfast, light lunch or a vegetarian evening meal etc…

Love Food Hate Waste Website

Love Food Hate Waste

You’ll discover a huge variety of beautiful dishes which can be made out of pantry essentials and leftover, helping you save money and use all the delicious ingredients that you bought at the supermarket/grocers.

Also check out LFHW’s tips on ways to make sure you don’t over stock your fridge and how to control the amount of food you’re cooking. I’ve found the ‘Perfect Portions’ tool really helpful for ingredients such as pasta and rice- I always make more than I need.

Royal Horticultural Society- This week Royal Horticultural Society have been busy hosting the annual Chelsea Flower Show and it’s fair to say that they chose the perfect week as the sun hasn’t stopped shining.

I wrote a blog earlier in the week about my favourite gardens featured at this year’s show and since the RHS have handed out awards to their favourite gardens and gardeners. You can view all of the winners and nominee at the Chelsea Flower Show 2012 section of RHS website along with a host of photographs of the gardens and video footage from this year’s event.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show website

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Whilst at www.rhs.org.uk  I also had a nosey around the site’s gardening section which has lots of information about how to tend your garden during the summer months. Including how to maintain a grow your own veggie patch, which is handy to read if your currently growing your own veggie, fruit and herbs like me.

This weekend is set to be a scorcher so why not try and get your grandchildren to help you around the garden. If they aren’t convinced read RHS’s top tips on gardening for the whole family where you’ll find fun garden tips aimed at children, but don’t forget the sunscreen.

Olympic Torch Relay- As I’m sure you already know the Olympic Torch Relay began its tour of the UK last weekend. The torch has already travelled from Land’s End to Worcester and is now en route to Cardiff before it tours Wales.

Throughout it’s week- long journey various famous people from the world of sport have carried the flame including Darren Campbell, Sharon Davies, Zara Phillips and Didier Drogba. Along with these sports personality’s people from local communities have also had the opportunity to carry the flame, which was saluted by two elephants at West midlands Safari Park yesterday.

BBC Olympic Torch Relay website

BBC Olympic Torch Relay

As the torch travels most people want to keep track of its whereabouts, including me. I’ve been tracking the torch via BBC News who has created a fantastic Torch Relay landing page that gives up to date coverage of the relay.

From here you can view a live video stream or read up to date reports of what’s happening on the relay. The page also includes an interactive map with the route highlighted and estimated times of arrival, plus pictures from the relay so far. A great resource which I’m sure I’ll be glued to next week when the torch arrived in Staffordshire.

Olympic Flame to land in Britain

May 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Olympic Torch banner

Last week the Olympic Flame was lit in Olympia before setting off on a seven day tour of Greece. Now the flame has been passed over to British delegates, Princess Anne, David Beckham, London mayor Boris Johnson and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe who will transport the flame to Britain this afternoon.

The team will fly to Britain with the flame and like lots of people I was fascinated to discover how the flame stays alight on board the aircraft. Apparently it is transferred into a ceremonial lantern where it can safely burn for 30 hours before been transferred back to the torch for the start of the relay.


Princess Anne with Olympic Flame

When the flame arrives this evening it’s suspected that Princess Anne will carry the flame off the plane and onto British soil. Tomorrow morning the long awaited relay will begin in Land’s End where Olympian Ben Ainslie will run the first 300 meters of the 70 day relay that involved 8000 torchbearers and a mammoth 8000 miles before arriving at the Olympic Stadium on 27th July.

Talking of torchbearers I read an interesting article today on Saga’s website that looks into the variety of torchbearers who will be taking part. They featured ten torchbearers who were successfully selected and are all aged between 57 and 94. As a sporting event it’s easy to think that those involved in the Olympic Torch Relay will all be young, fit and incredibly athletic. But that’s not the case as the Olympic committee carefully selected people from all areas, backgrounds and generations which is a brilliant way of getting everyone excited about the Games.

Click here for route of the Torch Relay.

Annette’s Websites of the Week- Britain’s Got Talent, London 2012 Olympic Games & Age UK Care in Crisis

May 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Britain’s Got TalentThe country seems to be gripped by Britain’s Got Talent after a series of live semi-finals this week. With the 10 finalists now selected everyone is looking forward to Saturday night’s live final show (ITV, 7.30pm) where the public will choose the 2012 BGT winner who will receive an enormous £500,000 and the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Show in front of the Queen.

I’ve really enjoyed this year’s show but I have to admit that I’ve not had chance to watch every semi-final show so I am a little behind on which acts got through to the final. Luckily the Britain’s Got Talent website is packed with all of the latest news from the semi-final shows including profiles of this year’s finalists, videos of their performances and exclusive interviews with contestants and judges.

So if you’re planning on watching the Britain’s Got Talent final this weekend checkout the website before hand to find out more about your favourite act. I’m backing the ‘paw-some’ duo Ashleigh and Pudsey because I can’t help but adore a dancing doggy.

London 2012 Olympic Games- This summer’s Olympic Games seem to be edging ever closer and this week a handful of events have taken place to ramp up the excitement including The School Games and the lighting of the Olympic Flame. Today the Olympic Orbit Tower, a steel sculpture designed by Anish Kappor was officially opened too.

The statement sculpture, which has caused a dived between people who love it and loath it, boasts a structure that is taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty and a observational suite that offers panoramic views of London. I’m yet to decide whether or not I like the design- what do you think?

Olympic Orbit Tower

Olympic Orbit Tower

In addition to the opening of Orbit Tower an extra 200,000 Olympic tickets were released this morning to Olympic applicants who were unsuccessful in securing tickets for the Games during earlier ticket distributions. With tickets to most events on offer, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, I’m sure that there will be lots of very happy Olympic customers by the end of today.

Check out the London 2012 website for more information on event, venues etc…

Age UK Care in CrisisThis week’s Queen’s Speech to open parliament disappointed many people including those who had hoped for a change in the social care system. Instead of a full social care bill been announced the speech revealed that only a draft bill on social care would be drawn up by the government this year.

Care in Crisis

Please support Age UK’s Care in Crisis campaign

For charities such as Age UK who have campaigned for change the draft bill is deeply unsatisfying. Despite this Age UK is still steaming ahead in their campaign for change in social care. To achieve a full bill next year they need to secure as much support as possible, which is why Age UK want as many people as possible to sign up to their Care in Crisis petition.

The online petition takes less than a couple of minutes to complete and includes a full and in depth insight into the whole Care in Crisis campaign, which I believe is worthwhile supporting because it could eventually help implement crucial change to the care system that we will all use at one point or another- sign the petition here.

2012 Olympic Flame officially lit in Greece

May 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Olympic Torch banner

Seeing the Olympic flame here in Britain during the Olympic Torch Relay will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people and a spirit of excitement is starting to show as the Olympic flame was officially lit in the ancient birthplace of the Games, Olympia in Greece this morning.

Although I’m familiar with the tradition of the Olympic Flame travelling via the Torch Relay and then burning for the entirety of the Games. It wasn’t until today that I realised that the flame was still created in a traditional manner of sunrays beaming into a parabolic mirror which I have to say was rather special to watch albeit via the news.

Today’s flame lighting ceremony is a significant moment in the run up to the London 2012 Games as it signifies the beginning of the flame’s journey to The Opening Ceremony at The Olympic Stadium on 27th July 2012.

lighting the olympic flame in olympia

Lighting the Olympic Flame in Olympia

Now the flame will tour Greece and the island of Crete for a week before it is flown over to Britain (amazingly the flame will remain alight whilst in transit) where it will finally begin its 70 day tour of Great Britain on the 18th May.

I’m planning to watch the torch as it passes through Staffordshire on 30th May and particularly looking forward to see Torchbearer Rita Banks. A local lady who has been an active member of her local running club for the past 40 years, after achieving a world record for running 52 marathons in one year (wow), Rita who is now 68 still continues to run competitively which is magnificent.

Olympic memory boat “Collective Spirit” launched

May 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’ve got lots of look forward to this summer as The Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games take place in London. Unsurprisingly the run up to these festivities has brought a host of celebratory artwork.

In April Buckingham Place was lit up with fantastic self-portraits from school children which together created portraits of The Queen and this weekend the Olympic memory boat ‘Collective Spirit’ was launched in Emsworth, Hampshire.

collective spirit close up

Close up of the Collective Spirit

The boat created by the artist duo Lone Twin, offers a unique twist as it’s made solely out of wooden objects donated to the project. The Lone Twin artists Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters managed to secure famous items including a Jimi Hendrix guitar, wood taken from Mary Rose and a prestigious wooden plank from London 2012 Veldrome.

Alongside these high profile items Collective Spirit was lucky enough to receive nearly 1,200 items donated by the general public, which have helped make the majority of the boat- each item having a story behind it. Donations included everything from wooden hockey sticks, wooden spoons, musical instruments, wooden coat hooks, a Victorian police truncheon and even small simple items like a writing pencil and a wooden peg.

Olympic Collective Spirit Boat

Olympic memory boat, Collective Spirit, launched this weekend.

Together the pieces have created a fantastic yacht which has a thousand stories to tell and a real sense of community. This weekend over 1000 visitors turned out for the Collective Spirit’s launch in Hampshire, many visitors looking to see where their treasured item has been positioned on the boat, which I imagine was incredibly exciting.  

I’m fascinated to see how each item has been so skilfully crafted together to create a real working boat which will soon sail around the South Coast including Margate, Brighton, Hastings and Portsmouth in the run up to the Olympic Games where hopefully thousands of people will be able to catch a glimpse of the Collective Spirit and enjoy its brilliant creativity.

Read all about Collective Spirit’s voyage- here.

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