Tuesday, 29 July 2014

So that you'd leave me alone in Leeds again

On Saturday, my buddy and I tried to have a little road trip to Ilkley lido to make the most of the rare outdoor swimming pool friendly weather we've been having. Alas, we got there to find out they'd stopped letting people in at 12.30 as it was so busy (it was 12.35 when we arrived...). Instead we went for a wander and an ice cream whilst we formed a back up plan to keep us entertained for the afternoon.

So we hopped back into Betty, my awesome new car, and drove to the fruit picking farm in Horsforth (with only a slight detour thanks to the satnav thinking that the farm was down a residential street in the middle of a housing estate...).  All that was left in the fields was raspberries as the strawberry season had just finished so we set off on our merry little way to the raspberry fields. The man at the stand told us that the raspberries were becoming harder to find but that there should still be plenty for us to fill our basket with. He was right, but we did have to keep disappearing into the depths of the bushes and branches to find anything worth picking- hard work when the weather was so crazily hot! We were very proud of ourselves when our dedication finally paid off and we wandered back to the man with a basket full of yummy looking berries. There's just something far more satisfying about picking your own fruit than pulling it off a shelf at the supermarket, and they definitely taste better too!

On Sunday, I realised I had a humongous box full of raspberries sat in my fridge as we'd not managed to make a real dent in them yesterday. Worried that they were going to quickly go past their best, I sarted plotting ways I could make something exciting and raspberry based.  I decided to experiment with ice lollies as it was far too warm to be slaving over a hot oven. With no recipe in front of me I tried to turn my lovingly picked fruit into tasty lollies. And actually, they seem to have worked pretty bloomin' well! And being the kind-hearted soul that I am, I'm going to share my secret recipe so that you have an excuse to go and pick your own fruit too!

Raspberry Lemonade Lollies

250g raspberries
juice of one lemon
1-2 tsp honey
1tsp caster sugar
about 100ml lemonade

To make:
Weigh out your raspberries and mash them together until it forms a liquid. 

Seive the smushed up raspberries to separate the juice from the seeds (I then added some of the seeds to the bowl to make the lollies seem a bit more 'natural' without it being totally overrun with seeds but that's just personal preference).

Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl of raspberry juice, add the sugar and honey and mix together well.

Pour the mixture into ice lolly moulds (I got mine super cheap in Primark!) so that they're about two-thirds full then top up each mould with lemonade.

Put in the freezer until frozen then sit out in the sunshine and enjoy :)

If anybody has any more summery ice lolly recipes then let me know- I'd love to try out more ideas!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fever, why won't you explain?

On Friday, I had a cheeky little day off work which turned out to be brilliant luck as it was such a sunny day! I'd been planning on meeting Mama T in Manchester for the day to do a spot of holiday shopping (14 days to go!), but when we realised that the Liverpool Giants were starting their journey around the city on the Friday I decided to travel a little bit further so we got to see something a little different. 

The Giants have been to Liverpool before a few years ago, but I was away the last time so didn't have a chance to catch them. I'm really glad I got to see them in action this year as it was simply incredible! I'd have loved to see more over the weekend if I'd been at home for longer than just the day as it would have been great to see the whole World War 1 story unfold. The Giants are big Marionette puppets controlled by lots of pulleys and complicated mechanisms that make them walk, blink and even snore- even without getting a picture of the whole story it was really fascinating to see them in action and really lovely to see such big crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of them (although the crowds weren't so lovely when there was a 40 minute queue to get back into the train station at the end of the afternoon!).

Liverpool really has made a name for itself in terms of culture and arts events these days, its bloomin' lovely to see huge events like this taking over the whole city and bringing a great atmosphere along with it.

Friday, 4 July 2014

And everyone's buying bicycles

Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire is awash with yellow at the moment. The Tour de France is starting here tomorrow and heading around this beautiful County before heading down to London and over to France where the real action starts. I've been brought up watching the Tour as my Dad's a bit of a cycling fanatic but its always been one of those things that has mostly passed me by (my main memory of it whilst growing up was that the constant cycling on the telly throughout July getting in the way of me watching Saved By The Bell..). 

This year's a little different though. Seeing Leeds being given a bit of special treatment and having lots of cycling themed things popping up all around the city centre has made me far more excited about the whole thing than I would be when its just on the tv. I love big events that brings loads of visitors to your hometown... it makes you appreciate how awesome it is when you see the crowds of visitors enjoying themselves! 

Last night, there was a parade through the city centre ahead of the Opening Ceremony at the arena. We got let out of work ridiculously early to avoid the road closures (these really weren't going to affect me given that I walk home from work but who am I to pass up a 3pm finish?!) so I got there nice and early to save myself a space right at the barriers for when the teams headed past. The atmosphere was brilliant and it was great to see lots of the cyclists up close- they were clearly loving all the attention the Leeds locals were giving them!

It was a brilliant opportunity to take lots of snaps- I'm glad I thought ahead enough to take my camera to work with me that morning! I've been instructed by Papa T to take as many photos as I can over the weekend as my Mum 'accidentally' booked their holiday right over this weekend which meant he couldn't come over to see it all himself. I'm secretly trying my luck with a photo competition that Yorkshire Building Society are running as I think if I won the prize so my Dad could go and see the final moments of the Tour when it gets to Paris later this month it would make up for the fact that its his grumpy daughter, who would have much rather watched Nickelodeon than cycling, who's getting to take pictures of it all instead of him! 

(This isn't a sponsored post, however I did get told about the competition and since I was planning on taking loads of photos this weekend anyway it seemed like the perfect thing to get involved with!)