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Sunday Morning Playlist

Happy Sunday everyone!

I’ve had a bit of a sleep-in this morning, I just couldn’t get out of bed today, so here it is a little late, but it is still the morning, my Sunday Morning playlist.


Life of Riley – Lightening Seeds

April Skies – The Jesus and Mary Chain

Rocks – Primal Scream

I Can’t Quit – The Vaccines

1933 – Frank Turner

Lesley xx

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The Big 5-0 : Number 6

Sea Glass Hunting

Today was a good day and lots of fun.  Today we went hunting for treasure.  Sea glass hunting that is.  I’d never heard of this until about three years ago when a lovely friend at work told me all about it. It’s one of those hobbies that once you start it becomes addictive.  Well, today was just about getting out in the fresh air.  The sun was shining, it was really fresh and breezy, and I haven’t been to the coast in over six months so it was really exciting to be at the seaside.  I wasn’t particularly looking too closely and didn’t spend as long as I would have in the past, but even still, I came home with plenty of sea glass treasure.









The best place to find sea glass in the North East is at Seaham.  The reason it’s so prolific there is because many years ago John Candlish’s Londonderry Bottle Company had six glasshouses at Seaham, the largest glass-bottle works in Britain.  Any broken or waste glass was dumped straight into the North Sea.  After many years in the sea, the glass is perfectly tumbled and washed up on nearby beaches every day.

Today, rather than Seaham beach itself we ventured to the nearby Blast Beach, so named because of the blast furnaces that used to be there.  It’s a very strange, pebbly beach with rocks and pebbles of many different colours, from the different industries there have been, but now gone from the area: mining collieries, ironworks and chemical works. I’ve only been here three times and it’s always been very quiet; a few dog walkers or photographers.  The opening scenes of Alien 3 were filmed at Blast Beach.






















Blossom had a great time as always but we had to keep her away from the sea; it was just too choppy today!

Slowly walking along the blustery beach we found some treasure, our cobwebs were well and truly blown away and I went home exhausted but happy.

Here’s some sea glass and interesting pebbles we found:


Here’s some information on different colours and rarity of sea glass.  Sadly we didn’t find any red glass – maybe next time.


Lesley xx



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The Big 5-0 : Number 5

Blood Brothers

This week I went to see Blood Brothers at Darlington Hippodrome Theatre.  Formally Darlington Civic Theatre, this was our first visit since the multi-million pound redevelopment. The extra areas meant that it wasn’t as crowded around the bar areas and there were many more toilets, so less queuing here too.  The exhibition area with photos of the development was interesting. We sat in the stalls, and there’s no longer a central isle; the rows fill the whole width of the theatre now, but the seats seem a little larger and there was definitely more leg room.

However, we were there for Blood Brothers!

Now, it’s not the first time I’ve seen the show, not by a long way, and it certainly won’t be the last!  If you have never seen Blood Brothers you really should.  It’s the show I recommend to everyone.  I first saw it in the West End of London many years ago before it started touring the country.  But having seen it that first time, I’ll continue to see it whenever I get the opportunity.

Written by Willy Russell it’s become one of the most popular musicals of all time.  The story’s set in Liverpool and follows the lives of twins, Mickey and Eddie, separated at birth, because their mother, Mrs Johnstone, a single parent with an already large and troublesome family, cannot afford to keep them both. Mickey is brought up in poverty and Eddie has the luxury of an affluent life and private education.  Against their mothers’ wishes the paths of their lives continue to cross. The first half of the show is laugh-out-loud funny, as the characters convincingly meet as seven year olds.  It’s amusing, uplifting and carefree and everyone goes to the interval with a smile on their face.

The second half returns with the characters moving into their teenage years and friendships develop into love.  The sparseness and depravity of Thatcher’s Britain is just as relevant today and the story progresses into a moving and powerful climax.  I won’t give any spoilers, but wow!  A well-deserved standing ovation ends the most fabulous show.

This may have been about the tenth time I’ve seen the show, but it never loses any of its appeal.  The songs are memorable and ‘sing-alongable’.  I still laugh as much as I always have.  I cry a little more each time I see it and I always say if I could watch this every week I would! Everyone needs to see Blood Brothers – it’s the best!


The current tour continues across the UK:

Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh
5th – 10th March 2018

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
12th – 17th March 2018

Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl
19th – 24th March 2018

The Sands Centre, Carlisle
26th – 31st March 2018

Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple
3rd – 7th April 2018

Hall for Cornwall, Truro
9th – 14th April 2018

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
16th April – 21st April 2018

Regent Theatre, Ipswich
30th April – 5th May 2018

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
8th – 12th May 2018

Palace Theatre, Manchester
15th – 26th May 2018

Lesley xx

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Sunday Morning Playlist

Happy Sunday!

There’s no theme for my choice this week, just songs and bands I enjoy listening to.

Electric River are a band people may not have heard of, and sadly they are no more, which is such a shame. I love them and their album The Faith & Patience is one of my favourite albums ever.   I first saw them as a support band to Lit in Birmingham playing to a couple of thousand people and they blew me away!  A few months later they were touring locally so I saw them play a small pub in Gateshead along with 27 other people! They were still fantastic and gave 110% – it was a fantastic night.  My third and final time I saw them was their farewell gig, in the Barfly, Camden.  It was a Friday night and I had to get the 5 o’clock train from Durham straight after work.  We were in the pub ten minutes before they started at nine!  It was an exciting, energetic and emotional night.  I still play their album a lot – I bought a copy from their merch desk everytime I saw them.  (The full album is on youtube, and is still available from Amazon.)

Gravity – Embrace

Fans – Kings of Leon

Keep the Engine Burning – Electric River

“45” – Gaslight Anthem

Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

The Faith & Patience (Album Stream)

Interview with Electric River’s  leadsinger Sponge, 2014

One of the members of Electric River, Will Whisson, is now playing shows and has recorded some new solo material

I hope you enjoy this week’s choices.

Lesley xx


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What Got Me Through This Week…

I know I said I didn’t want to fill my blog with posts of pancreatitis and me being ill, but this week hasn’t been so good, in fact it’s been pretty bad, the worst in a while.  I’ve spent most of the week in bed or on the couch.  I had things I wanted to do this week and write about, but none of them have happened so here goes, this is what I have done…

What I’ve watched…

Ozark on Netflix.

I always say that I don’t watch much TV. I prefer listening to music. I don’t watch Soaps, I don’t like Daytime TV or Saturday Night Family TV, but I do like a good drama or thriller.  TV viewing has changed over the last couple of years and this last year I must admit that I’ve jumped on the Boxset Bandwagon.  So for something to watch this week, me and Jordan set about watching Ozark. All we knew was that it starred Jason Bateman, who we both like, and that it had got good reviews; nothing else.  It’s similar to Breaking Bad in that a ‘normal, good’ person is forced to turn to crime to save himself and his family.  Jason Bateman is excellent as the main character, Marty Byrde, a financial planner who launders money for a Mexican drug cartel.  All the characters are engaging, and the last episode is fantastic! Wow! We didn’t see that coming! We were gripped from episode one, and have watched the whole season this week!

What I’ve read…

Because I’ve felt so terrible, I’ve actually been re-reading: I haven’t had the patience or concentration to start anything new.  So for easy reading and familiarity I turned to one of my favourite authors, Jonathon Tropper and his book This is Where I Leave You.  Jonathon writes with a real mixture of emotions, both hilarious and heartbreaking.  He writes about modern people and families with real problems that you can relate to.  In this book Judd Foxman’s father has just died and he and his siblings have to sit Shiva for seven days (seven days of mourning).  This alongside the fact that his marriage has just broken down may make you think it’s a bit of a downer book, but it isn’t; it’s really laugh out loud funny in places.  A film version of the book was released in 2014 starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Adam Driver.  The film is more light-hearted than the book, but I enjoyed it and would recommend it too. I would also recommend the following books by Jonathon Tropper: How to Talk to a Widower, and Everything Changes.

What I’ve listened to…

I don’t know why but Alainis Morisette and Biffy Clyro have both come up in conversations and playlists this week so they’ve pretty much been the soundtrack to my week.

Ironic – Alainis Morisette

God and Satan – Biffy Clyro

Well, I’m hoping for a better week next week, so hopefully I’ll have some Big 5-0 posts coming up.

Lesley xx

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Angel of the North

myextraordinarylife angel of the north silhouette dark blue sky background

The Angel of the North is twenty today.  It was installed on 15th February 1998.

Some called it a monstrosity at the time: there was a lot of opposition against it.  It was said that it was a distraction to drivers and that it would cause accidents on the A1.  But now, twenty years on, Antony Gormley’s metal statue is considered to be an iconic landmark of the North East.  Standing 20 metres (66 ft) tall, its wings stretching out to 54 metres, it can be seen for miles around.

I have to admit, at first, I wasn’t keen.  It was rusty.  And it’s wings weren’t angelic at all, they were like aeroplanes.  However, driving past regularly it soon became familiar and something to be proud of.  I actually love it now.

I have two pieces of art in my sitting room to prove it.  One, Star of the North, is by one of my favourite artists Darren Mundy – in fact it was this painting that ‘got me into’ Darren’s work.  The other was painted and given to me by a parent of one of the pupils I taught, after a school trip to the Angel of the North.  We had a fantastic time first visiting the Angel and then going to Seven Stories in Newcastle.  It was a brilliant day out!  The kids and parents all had loads of fun – everyone was shattered by the end of the day.  Great memories!

Check out Darren Mundy’s art here:

I still get a thrill driving past it now.  I hope it’s there for a long time to come.

Lesley xx

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Sunday Morning Playlist

Unfortunately I wasn’t well enough to go and see Bowling for Soup this year – they played Newcastle last night, so here’s a few of their slower, quieter songs for a Sunday morning.

Happy Sunday everyone!


Turbulence – Bowling for Soup


When We Die – Bowling for Soup


Circle – Bowling for Soup


Belgium (Acoustic) – Bowling for Soup

Lesley xx

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The Big 5-0 : Number 4

Doggy Paddle

Today was great fun!  We took Blossom for a doggy swim at a dog hydro pool.

Blossom’s confident in the water anyway and loves to swim, but we thought this would be a lovely treat for her, in a warm pool rather than the bitter North Sea.  And, even better, me and Jordan got to go in the pool with her.  The place was called Woofs n Scruffs, at Seaham, and the staff were so lovely, they couldn’t have been nicer, and they instantly fell in love with Blossom.  Her tail was wagging so much there was water splashing everywhere!  As it was her first visit, in a new situation with new people, she kept her life-jacket on, which I don’t think she’ll need next time; she was a real water-baby!  We all had a great time, the staff were friendly and professional, and we will definitely go back again.  I can’t recommend it enough and it would be super for older or less confident dogs.







Woofs n Scruffs have centres both at Seaham and Washington.  Here’s their website and Facebook details.

Lesley xx

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The Big 5-0 : Number 3

Lose Weight

I never try to lose weight in January.  I know everyone else springs into action with their New Year’s Resolutions, but January doesn’t work for me.  First off there’s my birthday in January.  Then there’s Christmas leftover: nuts, crisps, spice cake to devour.  But mostly, January days tend to be grey, dark and dreary so it’s hard to get motivated.

Well, here we are in February.  It’s still cold and mostly grey but the nights and the mornings are definitely getting lighter and brighter; there’s optimism in the air, spring doesn’t seem so far away.

So, yesterday I took myself along to my local Slimming World meeting. I’ve done Slimming World before and I know it works.  Well, it did for me.  Now I’m not saying it’s the best for everyone, but over the years I’ve tried loads of different slimming clubs, different diets, and tried to do it alone, and for me this is the only thing that has been a real success.  I also know, for me anyway, it’s to do with your frame of mind also.  If I’m not in the right frame of mind I won’t stick to it.  One of the benefits of Slimming World is the support and advice from the consultants and fellow group users so I know I’ll get lots of support along the way.

Because of my pancreatitis I have to follow a low-fat diet, and I’m due for an operation soon to remove my gallbladder so it’s in my own interest to lose some weight before this.  However, nothing’s ever as simple as it seems.  I have to follow a low fat diet but not too low fat or lose weight too quickly as this in turn can also cause the body to develop more gallstones!  I’ll be working closely with the hospital, my lovely SW consultant and from pancreatitis support groups that I’m in.

I’m feeling optimistic and determined.  It’s for my own health and my life so I’m going to try my best at sticking to plan.

I’m not going to constantly post my weight loss here on the blog, but I will give updates from time to time and I’ll post some pics when I’m feeling a bit braver.

Lesley xx