Bowery Mural

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games: Track Cycling

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Last Friday I had my first proper Glasgow 2014 commonwealth games experience. It was my day at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome to see some track cycling. I love cycling and since I'd fallen a bit out of love with the Tour De France this year, in stepped the home nations in the Commonwealth Games to fill the gap. Picture heavy post coming up!

I headed off on a rare scorching summer day on the train to Glasgow. Once in the buzzing city centre I wandered around Merchant City for a while to get something to eat. It was around lunch time and I was hungry. After I got some food I decided it was time to start my journey towards the velodrome. I'd decided pretty early on that I would walk instead of getting a train or a bus, and besides it was a gorgeous day and I'd slapped on the sunscreen. I headed out of the merchant city area along the London Road. I used to walk the London Road (from the other end) back in the day when me and my sister were regulars at going to watch the football a Parkhead (otherwise known as Celtic Park). Although I visit Glasgow regularly I rarely walk around this area of the city now but following the green signs on the pavements and above was a doddle. It took me a leisurely 35 minutes to walk and I'm glad I did. I encountered some great photo opportunities in old buildings, street art and the famous Barras market sign.

Amazing piece of street art, reminded me of the Bowery Mural in NYC

I arrived at the velodrome well ahead of schedule (and doors opening) and made my way through security. I have to say it was well organised and I was through within ten minutes. I understand that it could probably take a little while longer but then everything does when cities are bursting at the seems with visitors form all over the world. Stop moaning about it people! Anyway once through security there were a few food trucks, although I have to say the choice wasn't great but wait for this... I got a tray of chips and to my great horror they didn't have any brown sauce!! I mean, WTF. No brown sauce for my chips. There was tomato sauce, mayonnaise, salt, vinegar but no brown sauce. I was mildly disappointment but ate them anyway. The prices weren't too bad either, lower than I expected. So after my chips I got myself an ice cream cone. I haven't had a cone in ages so I enjoyed that whilst finding a seat and some much needed shade amongst the trees. Whilst sitting there I heard a fair few conversations going on around me in various accents. Most notably English and Australians. The English being a family of four who were moaning about the heat(!), the food, and then they shouted at the dad saying he wasn't getting his ticket because he'd wander off and he had the car keys! haha so funny and the girls were at least in their 30's.

A few cyclists came and went from the velodrome and I managed to capture a sneaky snap of England's Ed Clancy, as well as Andy Tennant and Victoria Pendleton (well, the back of her).

Yes, the back of Victoria Pendelton

Ed Clancy - on his phone!

Soon enough it was time to head inside. Exciting! I walked up the stairs and took a snap of the giant pictogram that was on the velodrome wall. I think the graphics and branding have been really well done at this games. Everything from these giant pictograms to the mascot Clyde, to the uniforms the medal bearers wear to the wooden medal ceremony steps - all really great and fit right in.

Broadcasting: Dame Sarah Storey; Victoria Pendleton, Sir Chris and Jonathan Edwards

Once inside the doors to the velodrome weren't open yet so I headed to the loo. The clean and spacious loo I have to say. Great facilities. Very important for us women. After that the doors opened and I was home. I love this place! The vastness of the space, the noise and the cyclists make lap after lap of a warm up and the roar when the home nation wins a gold medal - special. I took my seat. Great view of the track centre as well as the start finish line on the home straight, I was on the back straight opposite. Really great seat in fact.

the view from my seat

Cyclists out for a warm up

Some cyclists were out on track and I saw Jason Kenny in the warm up/cool down area circling around, stalking his opponents. He would be up first when the racing got under way.  And when it did the crowd cheered and roared and revelled in the speed of these cyclists and produced a great atmosphere. So good it was that Billy Connolly and the Aussie 7's rugby sevens team were in the house too.
The Aussie 7's rugby team in the front row, not Billy Connolly

There was a gold for Scotland in the Men's Sprint B2 tandem race for Neil Fachie and Craig McLean.  The tension was amazing and the roar was deafening as they came around that last corner. Absolutely brilliant! There was a gold for England with Joanna Rowsell in the Women's 3000m individual pursuit. Medals for New Zealand and Australia too. All in all a fantastic couple of hours on the track. Granted, I was disappointed when I found out Sir Brad wasn't doing the 4000m individual pursuit but the gold medal wins I saw more than made up for that. Jack Bobridge of Australia won that race.

Fachie on his knees after that Gold medal winning ride!!

Men's 4000m individual pursuit gold, silver and bronze medallists
Joanna Rowsell just off the bike

Scotland on top of the podium 
Outside the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
When the action was over I headed out on the walk back into the city centre. It was still warm outside even though it was 7pm and I'm glad I chose the walk rather the wait for a stuffy train. The pavements were fairly quiet but I was soon in the bustling merchant city area again. Feeling a bit peckish, I got some churros and ate them on the way to the train station but they got the better of me and I had to throw half away. It pained me to do that but they were so filling. Such waste but they would be great for sharing!

After a little stop by the lively George Square I hopped on the train and made my way home. A rather brilliant day at the commonwealth games. So glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

Thank you all at @Glasgow 2014 for bringing these magical moments to our doorstep.

Angela x

Commonwealth Games Fever

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Commonwealth Games are nearly upon us. After several games let downs I managed to get a ticket to the track cycling for Friday afternoon's session. I'm hoping (and praying) that Sir Bradley Wiggins will be competing in the individual pursuit which is taking place in the session I got a ticket for! woohoo.

I made my way to Glasgow on Sunday for my usual Sunday cinema trip and to pick up my ticket. Upon reaching George Square I joined the queue at the ticket office (a portakabin with 3 windows). After about twenty minutes I realised I hadn't moved at all, the line hadn't budged up, and you could see people were starting to get a bit restless. On average they were taking at least fifteen minutes to serve someone. Plus there wasn't a separate window set up for collections only. That would've been useful I thought. When I was nearly there, at the start of the queue, there was a guy about 3 people in front of me who was experiencing a problem with his tickets he'd booked online. I hoped there wouldn't be a problem with mine. After just under an hour of waiting it was finally my turn. I said I was here to collect a ticket. The guy asked for my postcode, name and for some ID. Within five minutes I had in my hand a booklet with my ticket enclosed inside. I cannot wait. Friday 25 July, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, track cycling. Will be great!!

After ticket collection I went into the Glasgow 2014 superstore. Which is basically a giant marquee tent with all manner of games related t-shirts, towels, Clyde miniatures, key rings, pens, bags and umbrellas. I bought a tea towel and a pair of striped laces that also helps Unicef. Can't grumble at that really.
Cool Glasgow 2014 pictograms

I love these stripes on the ground in George Square

From there I headed along to the merchant city to search out the Irn Bru pop up. Found it! You can't really miss it. Three giant Irn Bru colours containers with merchandise and a mini exhibition inside. Profits from sales goes towards the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice. I bought myself a pair of Irn Bru branded pj bottoms (but I'll wear them about the house as my comfies). Cool.

new pj's

Since I had my new boots on I weighed up whether or not I should try to find the Jim Lambie pathway that opened on Saturday. I decided to go for it.

from where I stood - new Balenciaga boots have cut my heels up!

I headed further along the London Road and there it was, Barrowland Park with a pathway made up of coloured strips of material with band names and dates in them. They represent all of the bands and artists that have played at the Barrowlands over the years. I love all things colourful and multi coloured and this really appealed to me. The area it is in is nice as there is grass on different levels that i'm sure people will sit on and enjoy the sunshine (when we get it!). I sat for a little while and put some plasters on my sore feet - those new boots! After that I headed back into the city centre and to the cinema.

my ticket!

I can't wait for the games to begin now. It seems like months that it's been building up. I can't wait to see Sir Brad - hopefully! And I can't wait for our country to shine.



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sometimes you just need a little encouragement.

I'm on holiday from work for two weeks (whoop!) and I have an empty. Since I'm not going away during this holiday I have a few things planned to keep me occupied. As always I have some fitness classes and gym time pencilled in when it will be a bit less quieter than it is in the evening. 

I booked a spin class with an instructor I haven't had before although I've heard she's great, and a little bit tough. Just what i like. So this morning i had my breakfast, did some yoga stretching for an hour, had a shower and headed off to this spin class. It was on at 1.15pm just after another class by Ross (my Friday evening instructor) and I felt like I was cheating on him with the new class. Weird. 

Anyway, this new class was with Louise (or LouMac) as most people know her. She does early morning spin classes too as well as metafit and insanity outside of The Peak in local villages. There was about ten of us in the class and we started at a little after 1.15pm. The music was loud, the instructions were clear and we were soon pounding our way up three imaginary hill climbs. I like to think of it like those ones on show in recent days on the Tour De France coverage.

Halfway through the class I had a quick check of the little display screen and noticed that I was pushing much more 'power' in a higher gear and that my calories used was higher than in other classes at this point. Result. 

The second to last track was to be the biggest one yet. Push a higher gear, cadence a little higher too and for quite a few more minutes than before. All throughout the class Louise was giving instructions about gears and cadence and then she got off the bike and came around. I was pounding out at 79-81 speed in my highest gear. I thought my quads were going to explode and my lungs burst and just at that moment she walked past and gave my hand a squeeze as if to say "you're doing great". That was me. A lump in my throat and my breath nearly gone with emotion but I didn't give up, in fact it spurred me on and I coughed that breathlessness away. What a really lovely thing to do, I thought. 

We had one track left. Another hill then a quick speedy round 'downhill'. We breezed through it and it was soon time for the cool down. 

She was really encouraging and after we had stretched and cleaned the bikes I was putting my trainers back on and she gave me another "well done, you were going really well there". "thanks" I replied with a cheesy grin on my face.

Those little things make all the difference in a class. In fact those little things make a difference, full stop. I was completely stuffed by the end but you know what? I will try to get into one of her class again. Because sometimes all you need is that little bit of encouragement.


The Grenson Rose Brogue

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Let's talk about shoes, and how I love them. And then let's talk about these amazing Grenson Rose brogues. Aren't they just lovely?

I have been craving a decent pair of brogue shoes for years. A couple of years back I bought a black pair from Office and wore them to work pretty much every day. They weren't a patch on these white calf leather lovelies though.

No, for these are by Grenson. They fit me great, although admittedly doing the first wear not the mean streets of New York city was a slightly bad move. There I was. I'd walked all the way from West 38th Street in Midtown, all the way to the Highline. Then right all the way down the Highline from Midtown to the West Village where I eventually stopped for lunch in a fancy restaurant. did you get that? All the way. From there I walked to the 9/11 memorial and on to Wall Street. By the time I got there I knew there was blood. In my feet, that is. Luckily I always have some plasters in my bag and once they were applied my feet were fine. That was my mistake though. I should've broke them in gently. They are proper quality leather after all and so there was bound to be some blister action.

They started off with a smooth leather "Goodyear welted" sole but after all that walking about the soles have worn a little bit. You can always send them back to Grenson to be repaired with a new sole and welting. I'll be doing that if they wear down too much, although I'm not that hard wearing on shoes so hopefully won't be needing that service for a year or so. 

The thing I love about these shoes are that they can be dressed up or down. I wear them with jeans, skirts and smart trousers. The white are just so versatile and summery!

They aren't cheap by any means but shoes are something I've always invested money in.  Ever since i bought my first pair of Adidas Kick trainers for my tenth birthday, shoes have been my thang! Plus I know they'll stand the test of time and the class brogue design is always timeless.


Fuji XE2 - my first few snaps

Friday, 4 July 2014


After much deliberation I finally settled on a Fuji XE2 camera. It was the right decision. I've had for a little under a month now and have enjoyed taking pictures with it, even though there haven't been many opportunities. And you always see a picture when you haven't got your camera or when you're driving along and there's nowhere to stop!

In saying that I had some willing (and reluctant) models in the form of my nephews as well as an impromptu flying visit of the Red Arrows over the village as well as some buildings and street scenes in Glasgow and Stirling.

For my first batch they're not too bad.

The camera itself is a sleek black affair. It now dons a little red slow shutter button, a nice addition I got on Amazon. Another item I had to buy was a card reader as I hadn't realised that camera never came with a cable to transfer your pictures to the laptop. I was advised the card reader would be much quicker than a cable and it is. I'm still trying to get my head around all the buttons and settings but i'm having fun seeing what this little black picture box can do for me. The size isn't too small but it is much less bulky than a Canon DSLR and in my opinion much better looking than any Canon could be.

Anyway, that's a quick mini first impression. Let's move onto the pictures.

Connor, the shy boy!

Ryan, love his freckles

curl selfie





him again


These are straight up unedited pictures. Overall, i'm pleased with the results.