Friday, April 30, 2010

Bluebell Wood

We went for our yearly trek to Bluebell Wood on the weekend. We park down by the bathing pools in St Peter Port and walk for about 20 to 30 minutes to reach the wood.

No blue just yet.

These beauties are not in the Woods themselves but on the way.

I do not think they are native bluebells but rather the Spanish imports but lovely just the same.

A little wild borage amongst the blackberries.

Once again we have timed our visit poorly.

Whilst there were flashes of blue, a lot of the flowers are yet to open.

The native bluebell.

I understand that native English bluebells are becoming endangered in the UK as too many people are picking them and as a result they are not reproducing new bulbs. You are not permitted to pick the bluebells in Bluebell Wood for the same reason, much to B2's disappointment.

The plants at the bottom of the wood receive far more sunlight and as a result bloom earlier than those in the shade of the wood.

We will come back next weekend to see if more beautiful blue blooms have appeared.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Day at the Races

Mr Bee and I were invited to an Ascot party on the weekend. There was going to be a prize for the best hat, so I got busy.

Take one £3.00 hat from a charity shop,

paint it, glitter it, glue on some ribbon, purple feathers, white rose, plastic horse and a few daisies and this is what you get. Am I a contender do you think?

I baked a banana cake with cream cheese icing. I have shown this recipe before on my blog so you can find the recipe in my recipe list on the tool bar.


and more cupcakes; 32 in all.

Unfortunately the strawberries slowly slid off the cake in the drive to deliver them. I didn't think I was that crazy a driver! I managed to rectify the problem but it didn't look as good later on with snail trials of strawberry juice all down the sides of the cake.

The glamorous.

The patriotic.

The glittery.

The comical - look closely for the horse poo!

The subtle.

The floral.

The chic.

The Hostess with the Mostess.

The fabulous.

The betting was a minimum of 20p and it cost £2.00 to buy your own horse. Mr Bee and I won twice with our own horse winning £16 each time. By then end of the evening we had nearly covered the cost of the babysitter!

The Prize.

The races. I am surprised the police didn't turn up as we did cheer rather loudly at times ;p

The winner.
Congratulations Sarah (and Sarah's Mum - hat maker extraordinaire)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tulips in St Peter Port

It is not only the countryside which is in full bloom in Guernsey at the moment. The Island's capital, St Peter Port, is looking lovely all decked out in it Spring finest.

I never really appreciated tulips before as they are a seldom seen flower in Brisbane gardens. I expect people can not be bothered keeping the bulbs in the vegetable crisper in the fridge for all those months to plant them out and then only have them flower for a week or two before the Queensland sun bakes them to a crisp.

Wallflowers are another new love of mine. They smell just gorgeous and come in a huge variety of colours.

Those plant pots on the poles are filled with blooms during the Summer months. The pots clip on and off the poles so the council gardeners can rotate them so they are always looking their best during the peak tourist season.

This is the only double-laned roundabout in Guernsey, in fact this is the only double-laned stretch of road on the Island, all one and a half kilometers of it!

The huge flag pole in the middle of the roundabout has been recently refurbished. I'm not really sure what they did but I am glad it has been put back as the roundabout looked a little bear without it.

The kids love the fact it looks like the mast of a ship, crow's nest and all. The tulips will only last a few more weeks and then the council gardeners will be out in force, trimming and weeding and preparing for the new Summer display.

St Peter Port is a lovely place to be when the sun is shining and the flowers are so bright and happy. It is a promise of a warm Summer to come; fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trafford Centre - Shopping Centre of the Gods

Whilst we were in Manchester we visited that shopping mecca of all shopping meccas, the Trafford Centre.

As you drive in through the gates to the car park there is a LED car counter to let you know how many car parking spaces are left. There were 5026 left on the morning of our visit so I think we were going to be ok :) I had been warned about the dangers of never finding your car again, the peril of wandering the car park, walking up and down aisle after aisle until you finally collapse from starvation and exhaustion; so I made sure we knew exactly where we parked - and here's a picture.

I agree with Seinfeld on this one; if they gave car parking rows a name instead of a number you would be more likely to remember where you parked. For example if our row was called 'monkey vomit' you are not really very likely to forget that in a hurry. Really you would think car park designers could be a little more imaginative.

The designers of the Trafford Centre however were very, very imaginative. I have never seen so much marble or Greek/Roman style statues in my life.

The glass dome in the centre of the building is truly fabulous, even more so when viewed from underneath.

We arrived at 9.00am and as the shops do not open until 10.00am we had plenty of time to look around. Mr Bee walked several meters away from me as he was highly embarrassed by my oohhing and aahhing and taking photos of everything in sight.

Every surface is decorated in some way. There are murals, cornices, columns, Greek/Roman themed plant pots, and benches.

Here is an example of one of the murals. There is one of these painting every few meters. I am not sure if they are people from history or if they are more modern celebrities. For arguments sake lets call this lady Kathy. Imagine how excited Kathy would have been to be asked to sit for one of these murals.

Then imagine that you became Kathy Queen of the Toilets. I think the excitement may have wained a little by now don't you?



Each one of these pots must have cost several hundred pounds each, and there are hundreds of them scattered throughout the centre.

Here is the dome from underneath. Large murals cover the walls under the dome. You can enlarge the photo to have a better look.

This will give you the idea of what they look like. These were done in a more traditional Greek/Roman design. The Trafford Centre construction must have kept quite a few Manchester based artists employed for years completing all these paintings.

Egyptian lifts

Cruise Liner Food Court

I think the statues are made from reconstituted stone, but don't quote me on that. They are all white with molted brown clothing draped on them. If they are not reconstituted stone and are actually carved by hand it must have taken years and year to complete them all as every way you turn you can see a statue. They even line the roof outside.

The Trafford Centre is effectively one large rectangle with two floors (ground and level one) which houses some 230 stores. There is a walkway which joins the rectangle half way along the top floor, near Boots, which take you to the furniture and home wears shops in the open air section. There are Christmas shopping trips from Guernsey to the Trafford Centre. You fly out on the 7.00am flight and home again at 8.00pm. Buses meet you at the airport and drop you off at the Trafford Centre. I could never see the point in this type of shopping trip before.....I can now! I would need to take a large suitcase with very sturdy wheels as I do not believe I could carry all those bags all day ;P

This is one of the murals on the walkway. There was also a piano which plays itself but I didn't get a photo of that as it was getting a bit crowded by this point.

Another Greek God just for good measure.

And another.

Mr Bee dubbed this the Trevi Fountain designed by Top Shop.

There has been some serious money spent in the decoration of this shopping complex.

We stayed and shopped until about 1.00pm, as Aunty Sue was kindly looking after the Bumble B'eers. It was for the best that we left when we did as plumes of smoke where wafting from our wallets due to the frantic card swiping going on in all the shops we visited.

Now lets go find the car. Where did we park again? Oh that's right aisle Monkey Vomit!