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Monthly Archives: December 2012

  • Netball - The Bluebells

    The thought of Netball may have you thinking back to unhappy days of standing outside in the freezing cold in a netball skirt, trying to remember which leg you land on and where you can and can’t go on the court and this is exactly what I thought when Tamsin asked me to join her Netball team - The Bluebells 3 years ago but my love of sport, being active and getting involved took over from the initial fear and I said yes (it couldn’t be that bad – could it?)!

    After the first match I realised that I needed to be a lot fitter than I imagined and I discovered muscles I never knew existed! Clearly my spin and aerobic classes don’t push me as much as I thought. This was 3 years ago and I stuck out the season and loved it by the end. So when Tamsin said she was setting up the team again and was I interested I jumped at the chance!

    The day of our first match the fear set in. I had forgotten all the rules, what I could do, which leg to move, the whole works. Even with some piggy in the middle practice on holiday I was concerned!

    It is at this point I should probably mention I hate letting people down, hence the fact I was a swimmer and runner at school – no team sports for me!

    We did lose our first match 23-12 but it was highly enjoyable (until I got whacked in the boob)! We were pleased though as it was our first game together as a team and took it as a warm up. Week 2 was going to be us giving it our all.

    Week 2 was a whole different feel and everyone knew where they were going and how each other played and suddenly we were winning. What a feeling, we just had to keep it up! The match ended and we had won (I think I am still in shock)….. maybe it had something to do with the Haribo Nicky supplied us with before the game….who knows, who cares – we won!

    Week 3 and we were down a couple of players and playing a team who had won their first 2 matches of the season. We were not confident. We managed to secure two players from the previous game to play for us, so at least we had a full team, but surely this was going to be a tough match to play? It started and we fell behind early on, but with a few team chats and tactics we were suddenly level at 14-14, this was just the motivation we needed and we could feel the opposition tiring. This spurred us on and we ended up winning 24-18. What a result, and to beat an unbeaten team. I went home proud and elated and re-lived the whole match again for Rob - lucky him!

    Week 4 and we were down our Captain. Uh oh! Our Centre, the glue that holds the team together was in Tanzania. Could we win without her? For once we had a team of 8, which meant we could all sub on and off. Hopes were high even though we were playing the team that had previously beaten us. We arrived and unfortunately lots of the team had coughs and colds, there was only one umpire (who seemed to favour the other team), we had 2 disallowed goals and ended up losing 18-11. I think we let our frustrations get to us in the third and fourth quarter and The Netters upped their game. At this point we were sitting third in the table but it was not over yet!

    Week 5 and Tamsin was back, much to the relief of all of us but due to good old London transport we had major issues with half of our team stuck on the Hammersmith and City Line or unable to get on the Circle line. So even at the start of the match we were down a Wing Attack! We could tell from the start that this was going to be a close match. Both teams were fighting hard and scoring freely and by half time we were down 5-4. Could we pull something out the bag to get a win? The game ended a bit too quickly for our liking and we had lost 14-11. We hoped with a week off the following week we could come back at the start of December refreshed and climb our way back up the table!

    Week 6 and we had some problems. Namely the fact we only had 4 of our team. We started the match with just the 4 of us and amazingly we were doing well. I think it threw our opposition as they were put off by the fact they had ‘extra’ players. Georgie, who usually plays Wing Attack or Wing Defense for us, did an outstanding job as Goal Attack against two very tall defenders! As the match progressed we gained two more players but unfortunately it was not enough and we did lose 14-6.

    Week 7 and the final match of this season – cancelled - what an anti-climax! Our opponents could not get enough players so they had to forfeit the game. The Sparks, who were due to play after us were also short some players, so Tamsin, Sophie and I decided to help them out. The Sparks and The Bluebells joined forces and created an awesome team. There was so much enthusiasm, clever game-play and goals galore. We ended up winning 21-8. What a fun and exciting way to end the season. Although I don’t think I have ever felt so cold and my hat remained on for the majority of the match. I would have kept my gloves on if I was allowed!

    Overall we have finished third in the league, which I think we can all be proud of. The most impressive part is that Tamsin won a trophy for player of the season, by winning player of the match four times and has been described by the league as ‘a superb player’. Well done Tamsin!

    I am so glad I joined the team, my netball confidence has grown massively and I can’t wait for the start of the next season. Let’s hope we can climb that table in January and end up top of the league.

    For more information on Netball and The Paddington League visit the Top Corner website.

    Tasmin and her Paddington Netball League Trophy

    Tamsin with her trophy!

    Melissa, December 2012

  • Our highlights from the BBC Good Food Shows - Winter 2012

    No more road trips, no more counting Eddie’s and no more eye spy games whilst stuck in traffic. With the final van unloaded we thought we should reflect upon our favourite moments from the three BBC Good Food Shows that we have exhibited at this season.

    Starting our winter fair season off was the BBC Good Food Show Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow.

    We love Glasgow! I am not sure if it is the epic journey up there, the friendliness of the locals or the fact that we have discovered the best Zizzi’s we have ever been to, but it is by far and away our favourite show.

    This year we were exhibiting next to Castlemoor Hog Roast, the smell was divine so of course we had to sample this for lunch most days! The pork is tender, the stuffing hearty and the red apple sauce tops it off nicely. They even do brown rolls, if you want to feel a little healthier! We would recommend this to everyone. They always sell out fast, so if you see them at a show make sure you get in there quickly! They would also be great for a big event or wedding.

    Tamsin discovered Threepwood Fayre Handmade Scottish Chocolates. She bounded back to the stand and announced she had found Rose Creams and Violet Creams and many more besides. I popped off to have a look and came back with three bags; the two Tamsin was keen on and Raspberry Ruffles for me! This was a mistake…once we opened them we could not stop. The dark chocolate was just rich enough and paired with the fruit and flavoured centres it was a perfect match. Make sure you follow their progress and sample some for yourself if you are in the area.

    Threepwood Fayre Handmade Scottish Chocolates

    Our next BBC Show was BBC Good Food Show London.

    I think the highlight for us here was seeing some familiar faces. Sally-Anne and Matthew Nelson from Condessa Welsh Liqueurs were there and had just won an award for their fantastic liqueurs. I personally would highly recommend the black cherry; delicious on its own or with champagne. A tip they gave us is if you pop it in the freezer and then in the champagne it works like a syrup, giving a more intense flavour. This is something both Tamsin and I are looking forward to trying at Christmas and New Year parties.

    It was also great so see the ChanCham team and pick up more of their fantastic sauces. The smokey lapsang sauce is really scrumptious poured over chicken and baked in the oven for a hearty and warming dinner. Their sauces are also great in the summer for BBQ’s. Have a look at some of their tasty recipe suggestions online.

    Our final BBC Show was BBC Good Food Winter at the NEC in Birmingham. This always seems to fall around my Birthday and this year it was on set up day! So after a heavy weekend of partying to celebrate my 30th we set up as quickly as we could, so Tamsin and I could enjoy an evening to stretch the celebrations even further and have a nice dinner out and possibly watch the latest Twilight instalment!

    As it was my birthday the week needed to stem around cake and all things sweet! This was certainly aided by the fact that we were opposite Joe Delucci’s Gelato. The flavours are incredible and the majority are also fat free – what a winning combination. Tamsin loves the chocolate fondant and I love the cherry and custard closely followed by the coconut. They are now also available in Tesco!

    Cake also featured heavily with us sampling as many flavours from Sponge as possible. It helps that you can buy little individual baby cakes for £1. We like the fact that they have found the perfect balance of sponge to icing ratio. I think my favourite is the carrot and I took some home for Rob and he is very taken with the Apple Crumble. I will definitely be buying these cakes again. What was even more impressive was that Tamsin managed to get all 30 of my candles on one tiny cake! (Health and Safety may not have been so impressed)

    BBC Good Food Show London Cake

    So in the blink of an eye another winter fair season is over and we are steam-rolling ahead to Christmas where no doubt a lot more food and drink will be consumed. I wonder what new and exciting products we can find in 2013. Bring on the fun!

    Melissa, December 2012

  • Christmas Present Ideas

    We are edging ever closer to Christmas and with our new website up and running there is now no reason not to buy an unusual and perfect gift for all of your family and friends.

    Here are some of our favourites:

    Our individually wrapped pyramid teabags make great stocking fillers. They enable you to try something you may not have tasted before and will make a delightful cup of tea for Christmas morning!

    Gift boxes of tea: we can mix and match any of our tins of tea in a gift box to suit everyone. Why not give a gift box of 6 teabag tins - one of each of our teabag range for £54. Or try something more unusual and give a loose tea gift box with two tins, one Organic White Tea and one Golden Tips Black Tea for just £36.

    Our Dunoon Fine Bone China range also makes a stunning present. Choose the design that best suits the person (spots, stars or hearts) and then the size of mug, teacup or teapot that you think would meet their tea requirements.

    For the females in your life our Kiitta range would make a stunning gift. The teacups and cake plates are bright and colourful and would stand out in any kitchen.

    We even cater for the non-tea drinkers with our stripy espresso cups!

    Come and see us in-store where one of the team would be happy to take you through all of our tea and teaware and help you pick the perfect gift or go online where you can browse our collection easily in the comfort of your own home!

    Melissa, December 2012

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