Posts tagged ‘Northern Ballet’

June 6, 2013

It’s my birthday!

It’s my birthday today! By the time you read this, I shall hopefully be on my way for a day of glorious sunshine at one of my favourite places, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Usually, my birthday is a time of reflection for me, and this year proves no different. June feels like a good time to take stock of year so far, and to make plans for the rest of it. Having made a few resolutions in January, it’s now time to see how I’m getting on with them.

1 – Run as often and as far as possible

Hmm. Not a good resolution to start off with, this one. I’ve not been running at all in the past few months. On the upside, I’ve been cycling a lot more, which I’ve decided that I prefer at the moment. In fact, I have no plans to run at all in the near future, but lots of cycling plans. So, perhaps I shall change this to ‘cycle as often and as far as possible’ and see how I get on with that.

2 – Blog as I choose – in terms of subject and frequency

It’s not long since I wrote a post about my blogging frequency, and since I wrote it, I’ve felt a continued sense of relief and of being in a lot more control over my blog. I’m going to carry on with the Slow Blogging for the foreseeable future.

3 – Do my Walk Leader training.

This is something that I’d still like to do, but my priorities have changes a bit since I wrote this list of resolutions, so it might go by the wayside without regret.

4 – Say ‘yes’ to opportunities to learn

Learning is still my absolute favourite thing to do. Recently I’ve been enjoying listening to lots of podcasts and watching TED talks on loads of different, but always interesting, subjects. I’ve just taken up analogue photography again with a Canon EOS 30, and I’m learning so much already. What I’ve realised is that I’m getting better at learning through practice,  as opposed to my usual style of learning through reading theory. Photography seems to be a particularly good example of this, alongside the many craft, cookery and gardening activities that I have planned for the rest of the year. Very soon, I’m also going to put an Impossible Project film through my vintage Polaroid SX-70 and see what happens! I bought a book called ‘Instant Love’ the other day, and it’s inspired me to get playing with it and see what images I might end up with.

5 – Cook 52 new vegetarian dishes – one for every week of the year

I’m currently at 11 recipes. So, I’ve got a long way to go with this one, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t get there. This resolution was partly about learning to be more creative and confident with cooking vegetarian food, and making the most of locally grown vegetables, including those I’m growing myself, rather than any hard-and-fast ‘goal’. One of the things I’m learning is how to adapt and create new recipes too, rather than following every rule, which is a pleasant feeling and something that I shall be trying to do more of and share through Sage and Thrift too.

I’m recording my recipes on Springpad, which has been a great visual tool in  aiding my resolutions this year. I absolutely love using this App, both on my Macbook and on my iPhone; it’s an invaluable way of keeping track, using lists, photos and uploads from websites.

6 – Go on mini-adventures

My first mini-adventure this year was a few days in Paris in the Spring, which was wonderful. I’ve got a short visit to Edinburgh (all food recommendations welcome!) soon, followed by a week in Bivouac, which I’m very giddy about and a few days in Oxford planned for the summer. Oh, and I’m possibly going to swim outdoors on the dawn of Summer Solstice too … good grief.

Further adventures will arise later in the year, no doubt. I’m not going to plan everything, but just say yes to things as the opportunity arises. I love the idea of packing a bag and setting off to destinations unknown, so hopefully that might happen too.

7 – Record all my spending

I’ve created a spreadsheet to track my budget every month and, rather than feeling restricted by it, I feel so much more in control, which is rather lovely. Overall, it seems that the amount I spend on frivolous fripperies and fancy stuff – trying saying that after a pint – is very little. Possibly something to rectify? We’ll see …

8 – Host one Sage & Thrift event every month

This project is something that I’m really proud of starting. We’re growing, generating plenty of interest and have lots of wonderful plans. Our next event is a cookbook swap on 23rd June in Leeds, so if you’re around, do come and say hello!

9 – Reduce my possessions

This resolution has definitely happened, for a variety of reasons, to the extent that I could now fit all my possessions –  with the exception of my bike –  into my small car.  I’m still working on my wardrobe and book collections. Although minimalism and I are slightly uncomfortable with each other (due to my messy nature!) I’m aiming to simplify my belongings, to make any new purchases really thoughtfully and to choose the best available options for me each time.

10 – Read one decent book a month

I’ve read eight novels this year so far,  as well as a number of non-fiction titles so it really does feel as though I’ve read very little this year. I love to lose myself in a good book, and have a reading list as long as my arm. The longer days of summer might be just the time to spend more time reading – the ultimate Slow activity. Again, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t meet this goal. If there’s one thing I learned from my enormous GoodReads Challenge of 2012 it’s that quality definitely beats quantity when it comes to fiction. I’ve been recording my books on Springpad too – and creating a reading wish-list, so I remember all the great books that are recommended to me!

11 – Attend one cultural event each month

I’ve included everything from cinema to art gallery exhibitions for this goal, and I’ve actually surprised myself with what I’ve managed to do in the first half of the year. I’ve seen live music from David Ford, visited the National Gallery in London and the Musee du Luxumbourg in Paris, seen a stunning production of The Great Gatsby from Northern Ballet, attended Bettakulture, watched a wonderful new Sherlock Holmes play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and visited several art exhibitions around the country. Recording this (again, on Springpad) has been a great eye-opener, and is a good reminder to myself that actually, I do lots of things and am really very lucky.

12 – Be kind to myself. 

This one rather underpins everything else. So often, I’m so keen to improve myself and to meet goals, that I get cross if things don’t go as planned, or if I don’t manage to be quite as brilliant as I think I should be. My beloved friend and Sage & Thrift partner, Jo, always says that we must ensure that we don’t use our plans as  ‘a stick to beat ourselves with’, which I love. It’s something that I’ve been trying to keep at the forefront of my mind this year. Life is challenging, and often doesn’t quite go as you thought it might. Plans don’t always work out, and it’s important to be adaptable, shrug your shoulders once in a while, and not get so caught up in the desire to achieve that you forget to have fun along the way.

With that in mind, I’m spending today having fun and with no aims other than to eat cake, sit in the sunshine and enjoy turning 37. Wishing you all a lovely day today. Even if it’s not your birthday …

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December 30, 2011

On ballet and other things…

On Wednesday I had the great pleasure of spending the evening with my husband and daughter watching a new production from the Northern Ballet – Beauty and the Beast. It’s not the first time I’ve been to see a Northern Ballet performance. A quick look through the programmes I’ve collected over the years reveals that I’ve seen The Nutcracker (at least twice), Peter Pan, Dracula, Swan Lake and Cleopatra, amongst others. I suppose I’ve become something of a devotee. However as this was a completely new production, I’m still counting it as one of my 35:35 challenges, and you can’t stop me!

We had a wonderful time and Eve was enthralled by the dancing. As usual, the performance was stunning. I love to watch the dancers, recognisable from having seen them so many times, dance in new performances. With every production, it feels as though I know them better, and they are always remarkable. I am proud to live in a city with such a dance company. I highly recommend you visit their website (via the link above) and try to see a performance during the Spring Tour for 2012. I am already planning my visit to see Madame Butterfly. Beauty and the Beast will also form part of this Tour.

As the artistic director David Nixon said in the programme, some of the costume design was inspired by Thierry Mugler and Issey Miyake and this could be seen in the dramatic folded shapes of some  and the colours used throughout. One of my claims to fame is that Julie Anderson, who now creates these amazing costumes, made my wedding dress. It was the only time I’ve ever had anything made to measure; a wonderful experience.

It’s not the first time I’ve taken Eve to the ballet. She went to see the Nutcracker when she was just three and even then, was really well behaved, simply because she loves to watch the dancing so much. From the age of two, she’s has gone to a dance class. She did Baby Ballet and now does a weekly class at Yorkshire Dance. Recently, she’s also started horse riding, and I’ve also taught her a few phrases in French and Italian. Now, before you start thinking that I’m one of those pushy mothers, I want to reassure you that I’m not. Eve will carry on doing these things only as long as she’s enjoying herself. She did have swimming lessons for about half an hour, before turning blue from the cold (she’s very slim) and crying. So, no more swimming lessons.

Horse riding is something I’ve always done ( I have a degree in Equine Science) and wanted to share with her, and as far as the language learning goes, she loves to learn a few words. As small children are still learning their primary language anyway, it’s a great time to learn a little of another, and she was very thrilled to be able to say ‘ciao‘ to everyone we met in Italy on holiday – and was usually rewarded with a smile, pat on the head, gentle pinch of the cheek or in a restaurant, a little treat. So, needless to say, language learning has gone down very well with her! I think it’s important to at least try to learn a little of the language of any country I visit, even if it’s just to confront the image of the British tourist who merely shouts slowly in English, and so I am learning Italian myself – as those of you who have visited here before will know.

The reason for these classes is that my basic attitude to parenting is to share as many things with both of my children as possible and let them choose what to keep doing and what to drop. My son is now two and a half and just starting to show that he’s interested in something other than ‘Little Red Tractor’, so I need to think about what he might like to try soon. I plan to let them experience as many different sports, arts, science, travel, language and literature opportunities as possible, just to show them the world. Then, if they choose to continue spending time on any of those things, I will do what I can to support them, and if they choose to drop all of them in favour of something they have discovered for themselves, I will support that too…