Sunday, 26 August 2012

Our Olympic review

So, with the Paralympic Games only days away, and finally with some time and a decent internet connection, I thought I'd write a post about my own experience of the Olympic Games.

When it was announced that the Games were to be held in London, I didn't give it too much thought to be honest. I thought we would maybe watch on TV, and perhaps see if any tickets were affordable, but never thought I'd actually make it to the Games! I registered for tickets along with everyone else last year, and was lucky enough to get two of the four we applied for - artistic gymnastics, and judo. Later in the seemingly endless rounds of ticket resales and new events, we also got tickets to sit on Henman Hill (yes - that's it's name!) at Wimbledon, but more on that later.

The Torch Relay
The Olympic Torch Relay went all over Britain, and on Sunday 24 June it came to not-so-sunny Salford, a mere 20 minute walk from my home. So, I got up at 5:30am and went to see it. I chose a spot where I would see Sir Bobby Robson running his leg of the relay, and was rewarded by a smile, a wave and a "Morning" from Sir Bobby in reply to my "Morning Sir Bobby!" It was well worth getting up that early (even in the rain!), and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Sir Bobby Charlton carrying the Olympic Torch up Water's Reach towards Old Trafford.

Team GB
Like a lot of people in this country, I was really looking forward to supporting our Team GB athletes on their home turf, so I wanted to make sure I was branding myself a Team GB supporter. To do this, I chose to wear the Team GB friendship bracelet from Links of London (I bought one for my best friend for Christmas too), and I also made a Team GB scarf top, using the small scarf from the Next Team GB collection.
Links of London Team GB Friendship Bracelet.
Team GB Scarf top made with Next Team GB scarf.
I posted details of how to make the scarf top in a review of the pattern on 

Artistic Gymnastics, North Greenwich Arena
Of all the sports at the Olympics, this was the one I was most keen to see - women's artistic gymnastics. At the time we bought our tickets we had no idea which teams would be competing in the session we were bidding for, and because we aimed to combine this session with the judo we picked the morning session. This was Sunday 29 July 2012. As it turned out, this was the session with Brazil, Italy and independent competitors qualifying. We saw some fabulous competition, including the European champion - the fabulously named Vanessa Ferrari. Below are a handful of pictures captured on Andy's camera.

The competition layout at North Greenwich Arena (aka the O2!).

Split leap on floor.
A gymnast mid-layout on the floor.
A Brazilian gymnast on beam
A gymnast performs a catchev
Judo, ExCel
I had never been to a judo competition so I didn't know what to expect, but it was fantastic! The biggest revelation of my Olympic experience. We picked a session which included finals (and therefore a medal ceremony), and this was for the lighter weight fighters, both male and female. We were delighted to find out that a British judoka, Colin Oates, was through to the repecharge, meaning he had a shot at the bronze medal. Sadly he lost, but I am proud to say I cheered on a member of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics! 
The Cuban Yanet Burmoy (in white), winning her place in the final. 
Colin Oates on his way to losing to Jun-Ho Cho of South Korea. "COLIN! COLIN! COLIN!"
Lasha Shavdatuashvili in white, on his way to the Gold medal.
Medal ceremony for the Women's 52kg judo - Gold to An Ka of North Korea , Silver to  Yanet Bermoy of Cuba , and Bronze to Priscilla Gneto of France and Rosalba Forciniti of Italy.
Medal ceremony for the Women's 66kg judo - Gold to Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia , Silver to Miklos Ungvari of Hungary, and Bronze to Jun-Ho Cho of South Korea and an athlete whose name I don't have, from Japan.
And finally... in the corner are a group of rowdy Georgian fans - we LOVED them! All dressed in the George cross, and walking round singing patriotic (I assume!) songs like a football crowd. And when their boy got gold they went CRAZY!
Tennis, Wimbledon
My final experience of the London 2012 Olympics was sitting on Henman Hill at Wimbledon watching the tennis finals in the rain on Sunday 2 August 2012. Or at least, it did rain for a while. At this point I should probably confess that during normal tennis season, I'm not a massive Murray fan, and would much rather cheer Djokovic to victory. But as Murray had despatched Djokovic in the semi finals, I had no choice but to sit on Henman Hill and listen to the crowd cheering every point Djokovic won (and lost as it turned out he didn't get a medal).

But still, we had a great day cheering on Team GB, and at least I got my Wimbledon fix for the year, having not been successful in the ballot this year.

Mum and Emma emerging from our "rainproof" (ahem!) nest on the Hill.
Enjoying a Pimms on the Hill watching the ladies doubles final on the screen.
And the Hill goes WILD!!! Andy Murray aka Team GB wins Gold!
Final thoughts
I had a great time at all the events I went to for the Olmpics at London 2012 - I'm only sorry I didn't get any more tickets for some of the more obscure sports. But equally I loved watching on TV. My highlights were:
  1. Greg Rutherford's long jump Gold - in particular his fabulous "I've got the best life ever" interview afterwards!
  2. Team GB Men's gymnastics get bronze - fantastic! I was leaping around my living room screaming and crying as the final result came in.
  3. Beth Tweddle's bronze on bars. Such a high standard of competition, but finally Beth has the Olympic medal to top off her collection.
  4. Mo Farah 10,000 and 5,000 metres. (I was so happy to hear his twin girls were born this weekend too!)
  5. Team GB cycling - so how will Sir Chris Hoy be bettered? King? PM? President of the World? Any would do!
  6. Dressage - horses dancing to music. Too cute.
  7. Opening Ceremony - particularly children's literature with JK Rowling, and Sir Kenneth Branagh reciting Shakespeare.
  8. Closing Ceremony - particularly Take That and The Spice Girls.
And now to Rio... anyone got a couple of grand to lend me?

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sewing fun from May to August

I've let the blogging slip a bit recently, but now I have a day at home I thought I'd catch up with telling you about the sewing I've done in recent months.

May: Simplicity 2599

Best of Patterns

Whenever I complete a sewing project I always upload a review of the pattern to I love this website as it's a really useful place for getting tips on patterns you're already using, or for finding the perfect pattern in the first place. 

One of the things they do as well as publishing reviews for people, is run contests throughout the year. By pure chance, this May they ran a contest at the same time as I intended to make a couple of tops from a pattern which was eligible for the contest. This was because the pattern I use the most for tops to wear to work has previously been voted a top ten pattern of the year.

Anyway, I decided to enter one of my tops, so I did. The top I entered was the one below, featuring a beautiful bird print cotton-silk mix fabric I bought (well, went halves with Mum on) at Cloth House, Soho, London. 

You can see more pictures on my project in the flickr album for the project available here. You can view the full review for this project on here.

I was very proud of my efforts, and ecstatic to get 8 votes in the contest! I will definitely be entering more contests soon. Watch this space... 

The other top I made from this pattern was a slight variation on the pattern. I used the base pattern, this time with the sleeves, but instead of the ruffle front I added a pair of guipure lace collars I bought on eBay. This top is probably one of the biggest bargains of my home sewn collection - lilac polycotton £2.50, collars £3! I wear both these tops to work, and the picture below shows my lilac top taken by my friend Shareen during the lovely British heatwave back in May.

 You can read a copy of the review for this top here.

July/August: BurdaStyle Magazine 07-2012

I didn't do any sewing in June, as I was busy crocheting (as you will know from my previous posts), but in the last two weeks I've made up for that by making a top and a dress.

The top in this photo was made especially to wear to my trip to the Olympics last weekend. (We went to women's Gymnastics and Judo, but I'll save that for another blog post...) 

The pattern was in BurdaStyle Magazine for July which was a fabulous coincidence as I'd already planned to make a top out of the official Team GB scarf from Next. I added a blue, red and white gingham sourced from the ever reliable eBay for the back and an extension to the front. 

As ever, I posted a review to, which you can read here. I also have a flickr album for this top, showing some of the detail of construction.

And finally for July (and a bit of August!) I made this lovely dress:

This was made for my lovely friend Gwen's "End of the '20s" themed 30th birthday party, held at a lovely cocktail bar in Manchester last night. I searching for a long time for a pattern for a dress, and by pure fate BurdaStyle July issue had a selection of 1920s inspired dresses to choose from. I picked the godet dress, and made it over the course of the last week whilst watching the Olympics on TV.

If you want to read my review of the pattern you can find it here.