Sunday, March 7, 2021

What's Making Me Happy Right Now


(Jasmine is on the left and Poppy on the right)

I stole this idea from a few places on the internet. I'm sure, like me, you've found this lockdown hard, and maybe even hardest of the three. I think that's due to the darkness and coldness of winter. By the time Lee has finished work, it's already dark, meaning we've struggled to get out and do anything. We've had a lot of snow here, the worst we've had in years, which has actually made me glad that I haven't had to try to struggle to drive anywhere. It's also just such a grind - we've been here before, we've done this, I've stuck to the rules and for what? For cases and deaths to be worse than ever. I'm not blaming this on people, by the way - I'm blaming it very squarely on the government, who I believe have made wrong decisions at all turns. They have locked down too late each time, they've ignored scientific advice, they've opened up too early... But I'm not going to dwell on that. 

Instead, I'm going to talk about things which have made me happy recently. Before Christmas and in early January I was quite depressed and very bored. I struggled to sleep and in the mornings I really struggled to get up. As things have got lighter in the evenings, I have been getting slightly better. The vaccines seem to be getting done (yay, NHS!) and I am hopeful for things getting better soon. I am looking forward to seeing friends and family at SOME point this year. I'm hoping to go away on holiday with Lee and maybe with Sam and Jac. Spring is coming! Covid will go away to a degree that we can do some normal things! I hope!

So, my happy things:

1) The kittens. Oh gosh, they are absolutely gorgeous. Every day I think how lucky it was that I saw them on the RSPCA website that day last July, how lucky it was that our application was accepted, and how lucky we are that they settled in so well to our house. They have such different personalities from each other and from Ivy. Jasmine is very inquisitive and affectionate. She carries toys around in her mouth and often sleeps on my head or near me. Poppy is a little bit more reticent - but when she is affectionate I feel so precious because it's so hard won! She likes to lie on me in bed in the mornings. She's also very into the phone - if she can hear my mum on the other end she comes across to see where the person is! I'm looking forward to when people can come visit them again as they're so desperate for friends! They both like people food a lot. They love little pieces of rubbish to chase around. They often take things out of the bin. They're ludicrous and I love them.

2) Writing. I signed up for Get Yours Words Out for what must be the fifth or sixth year in a row. Last year I managed 300,000 words, so I signed up for the same this year. It is a lot of words, so I'm really proud of myself for completing it. I've been working on something new, which is set in Hebden Bridge and is a romance with a band involved. I've been using Scrivener for the first time and I really like it because I've been writing this book in a non linear fashion, which Scrivener is really useful for. 

3) Crafting. I try to craft for a little bit every day because it really helps my mind and my spirit. I'm working on a big cross stitch called Hello Deer, although I've been crocheting on and off too. I have so many cross stitches that I need to get framed when that is something I can do when lockdown is lifted. Then hopefully I can put them up on the wall. We redecorated our attic room last year - I'll try to remember to take photos although it's still a work in progress - and so far there's the cat activity centre and a dartboard on one wall and nothing on the others. Oh, no, I lie, there's two pictures of Ivy, bless her. 

4) The Body Shop. I am enjoying being a consultant. I'm not in it for big bucks but I like my commission, and I've liked helping people choose products, and when I've dropped off some orders I've been able to see my friends for a few minutes on their doorstep. That's been lovely! 

5) Video chats. We've been pretty consistent in chatting with my family and Lee's family over the past ten months, and I've video chatted with friends on and off too. For my birthday I had tons of people on a video chat which was LOVELY. I've also been to a virtual book club a few times! It's been good

6) Food. We've been trying really hard to make new recipes. I'm vegetarian and Lee eats veggie with me most of the time, although he doesn't like some of the meat replacements I do, or some of the things like chickpeas, so sometimes he eats meat and I eat vegetarian. But I'm proud of us and the stuff we've tried! 

7) Reading. I know a lot of people have struggled to read over the past year, which is absolutely valid of course. It's stressful living in a pandemic. I have read less because I used to read at lunchtime but now Lee is still working in the living room so I don't get the chance to sit and read the same. But I have read some excellent books recently and I do read before bed every night, which is something I cherish.

I'm going to leave it at lucky number 7, it's getting late!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

RIP Kelly

I don't know if any of you reading here knew Kelly, aka Katyacoldheart. She died on the 4th of February, of Covid. She will be missed by many of us in the plus size blogging community. 

I met Kelly nearly five years ago when I went to Manchester to go shopping with her and Steph. Here's my blog post about it, although sadly I didn't get any photos of us all. The new Beth Ditto collection was in Selfridges so we looked at that and tried bits on. We had a brilliant lunch and some cocktails and I went home having made a new friend. I saw her at another event either later in 2016 or early in 2017, I think. 

But she was always around online. Kelly was often on Twitter and Instagram with likes and replies to tweets. She was a very kind person, and had a wicked sense of humour and was very dry. She did really amazing black work cross stitch. She collected those York ghosts and little house figures. She loved Halloween. She was a genuinely lovely person and loved her little dog Arlo a lot.

She had an autoimmune disease which affected her lungs, and for at least the last year she had been on oxygen at home, and had had to give up work. This means that it isn't surprising that Covid affected her so badly and that she couldn't survive it. However, that didn't at all mean she deserved to die, or that her life was any less precious. She could have easily lived a lot longer with her autoimmune disease, and she should have. She should have survived Covid. The government has so much blood on its hands, and unfortunately Kelly will be just another statistic to them. 

Steph and I have decided that when it's safe, we will get together and have a few cocktails in honour of Kelly. A few others in the community have said they'd like to join us. I have met so many people through plus size blogging. I haven't met all of them in person but through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, they have turned into friends. Online friendships are very real, and I have already felt Kelly's absence just while she was in hospital. It's February 5th as I write this and I'm really sad. I have lost a genuine friend, and I have a feeling she will leave a big gap.

This photo is Steph, Kelly, Leah, and Anne-Lise at an event in 2017. Don't they all look so beautiful? I'm proud to call all these gorgeous women my friends, and I hope that Kelly lives on in us. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

New Knickers!

I have had problems with knickers for ages, I couldn't seem to find any that were comfortable or fit me properly. I had some boy shorts that I've been wearing forever even though they weren't very comfortable, and some old sets of those packs from Evans. Those did fit okay, but I find that the elastic goes on the waistbands and they end up covered in holes. I had a previous pack from Crazy Clearance which were okay, but still not really big enough. They ended up being period pants - I'm sure a lot of us have those - and I don't really care that they're covered in stains.

I DO have some knickers that I liked. I had two pairs from Yours, the like of which I've never seen again on their site. I had two pairs from Simply Be that I will wear for a while longer. I had two other pairs from Simply Be that I bought in like 2012 and which are SO comfortable that I've tried to buy more. I looked up their product code and everything, but they weren't available any longer (I should've bought like 10 when I had the chance).

A couple of times I've ordered packs from Simply Be or Crazy Clearance but they haven't fitted so I've sent them back. However, I'm eternally an optimist so while I was browsing Crazy Clearance recently I threw three packs into the basket. I was hoping at least one would fit. As it turns out, all three do, so I now have SEVENTEEN new pairs of knickers. I threw out lots of the rubbish old ones with holes in, kept some for use as period pants, and trued unsuccessfully to make the rest fit in quite a small drawer!

I am not sharing a photo of me in my knickers, so here's the ones I got from the order confirmation:

So the first pack was just two pairs of knickers, one in this peach colour and one in a mocha colour. They are that smooth, matte satin kind of fabric, which I really liked and which feel kind of fancy so are nice to wear under a nice outfit. These were £10 which is pretty steep for two pairs of knickers I feel, but I liked them so I kept them and I'll probably wear them for 'best'.

The second pack was a pack of 10, it was £11.40 which is very reasonable. There's three black pairs, three white, two spotted and two striped. I was surprised these came up over my belly, but they do. They're soft and comfortable and I like them

The third pack was a pack of five, for £12, which is very reasonable I think. These are like those gym knickers we used to have to wear at school under our grey gym skirts. They're cotton, but a kind of thicker brushed cotton. They come way up my belly and go right down on my bum too. No fear of a cold stomach or back here! Lee thinks they're ridiculous but I don't care because I love them! This pack has two black, two white and one blush pair.

Thoroughly recommend any of these and Crazy Clearance if you're in need of new knickers!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Films of the Month - January

I only watched nine films in January. I'm sure this happens every year, and I think it's because I watch so much Christmas stuff that I've missed in early January and end up trying to get to that before it goes off catch up. And what I did watch was some weird stuff, because Lee and I are trying to make our way through a Buzzfeed list of 100 80s films. I had only seen 17 of them, and Lee had seen less than half, so we decided we would watch them all over the course of 2021. It's not like we've got anything else to do! 

So we started off 2021 with these films:

I've never seen Clue even though I know it's a bit of a cult classic and even though I love Tim Curry. I liked it, it was quite kitsch and funny, but I'm not sure I'd bother watching it again

We watched Clueless just because we both love it, it's a teen classic that we both grew up with. I've started watching The Babysitter's Club again, where Alicia plays Kristy's mom - it's great if you haven't seen it

I've never seen The Terminal so I watched it by myself one afternoon. I quite liked it, but I wouldn't rush to watch it again

Nightmare on Elm Street was the second of our 80s films. I've seen it parodied so many times that it was quite funny to see the original. I liked it, but I think Halloween, which it's really similar to, is better

Lee wanted to watch Rogue One, which he thinks is the best of the modern Star Wars films (I really like The Force Awakens, and neither of us rates the prequels [in fact, I've only seen one of them]). I do really like it, so I didn't complain about watching it

Miss Juneteenth is a film about an ex pageant winner who wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Someone on Twitter had recommended it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The main characters were great, and I liked how their economic background especially was portrayed

Sam and I watched The Favourite together. I hadn't seen it since I saw it in the cinema when it came out. It's great, I loved it so much

Lee and I watched The Karate Kid for the 80s films list. I didn't rate it at all, it went on too long

Finally I watched Election with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. It was on iplayer and I like Reese so I thought I'd chance it. It's a weird film, I liked it but I wouldn't watch it again

And there we go!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Drive Out in January

On the last Saturday in January I was feeling very bored and stuck in the house, so I said to Lee that we should have a drive out on to the moors a little bit for a walk. We weren't too close from home. We stopped into Tesco to begin with and bought sandwiches and stuff for lunch, and then drove to Dunford Bridge. It was snowing slash sleeting on us as we were driving, but conditions were fine. We ate lunch and then walked down a little bit towards Winscar Reservoir. It was so cold up there! 

We then drove to Underbank Reservoir, where we've been a few times since last summer. It's really accessible for me, so we walked down to the water's edge. The water was really high and lapping up way over where it was last summer. There was a tree that had fallen down; it looked really cool! There were a few people fishing, and some walkers around. Everyone we walked near said hello or good afternoon to us, which felt really nice!

We drove round the other side of the reservoir and stopped at a part where you could watch the water flow out. That was quite nice! We didn't walk very far but enough for me and I really enjoyed it.

When we got back we made a lasagne to pop in the oven later, and then I laid on the sofa reading my book. I was close to finishing and wanted to get it done, so I just chilled out for a bit. I quite often lie on the sofa and sometimes Jasmine joins me, but this time Poppy laid down on my side and went to sleep! I felt very blessed! Jasmine is very affectionate but with Poppy you have to let her come to you. She's got in the habit now that once I've let them out of the attic room (where they sleep and where all their stuff is) I'll get back into bed and she can come and lie on me. I think I was in a similar position on the sofa so she recognised it was safe! Bless her. 

It was a nice, chilled out day. I am very fed up of lockdown and feel very lonely when Lee's working all week and I don't have much to do, so it's nice to do what we can

Winscar reservoir

Me and Lee - yes it was snowing a little!

Looking over the moors towards Manchester

Underbank reservoir

The felled tree

Me with the reservour in the background

And the water flowing out of the reservoir near Stocksbridge

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Lockdown Virtual Party

I hosted a lockdown birthday party on Zoom a few days after my birthday. It turned out to be lovely, I really enjoyed myself. I invited my family, my very best friends, and some other friends, including the South Wales contingency who I haven't seen in nearly two years but who I've spoken to a few times on video chat in lockdown. I think there were over twenty of us. People came and went at different times. My aunt made us do a scavenger hunt which was fun and funny, and I did a birthday madlibs which was funny too. We ended up staying on until past 11pm. It was really lovely, and I feel very privileged to have such amazing friends and family! Cath took these screen shots of us, which I thought I'd share. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Lockdown birthday!

I had a really nice lockdown birthday and it was partly due to some pre-planning that I did to make sure it was a good day. I have recommended these things to a friend of mine whose birthday is in a couple of weeks, because they helped the day feel special and meant I didn't get sad at not being able to do the kind of thing I would have normally done. 

So first of all I asked Lee to have the day off and he booked the Tuesday and also the Monday, so that made it a nice long weekend for us. We got loads of jobs done on the Monday which was great. Tuesday morning I was awake really early, I just couldn't sleep. I read my book and played with the kittens. Then we went to work, where I had to pick up documents and money. I do this once a fortnight and it's nice to still be able to go in, even if it is only for a few minutes. I also picked up a Scentsy wax warmer from a friend - I've never had an electric warmer before but this one has a bee on it and I really liked it. My Scentsy consultant, Angela, chose a wax for me which is pineapple, coconut and vanilla, and I really like it - it smells like a nice cocktail. 

We headed to Sandal Castle for a walk and I had presents. I got some lovely things, including a yarn tote, some storage drawers for some of my jewellery making supplies, some new slippers, some books... I was spoilt! 

Lee and I then headed to Cannon Hall Farm which isn't too far away from where we live. I had preordered afternoon tea which was £10.95 and well worth the money. I went for the vegetarian option. It had several sandwich quarters (Lee had to eat a tuna sandwich cos three of the four were cheese), quiche, Greek salad, which were all lovely. Then there were so many cakes - a scone with clotted cream and jam, a slive of Victoria sponge, a brownie and a chunky piece of shortbread. There was so much neither of us finished it, but it saved for the next day. 

After that I video chatted with my friend Lucinda for a while. She was framing some art and I was cross stitching, so that was nice. Around 5pm Lee and I made a Body Shop delivery to a friend; it was so nice to see her even if it was so brief - I really miss people. We picked up takeaway while we were out - sushi! I over ordered because I got a bit over-excited, but I knew it would save. I had mostly cold, vegetarian and vegan sushi, but we shared some fried rice and some gyoza too. Lee enjoyed his too.

After that I video chatted with Sam and Jac, which was really nice. We hadn't talked since New Year's Eve so it was lovely to catch up and a nice thing to do on my birthday. After that it was bedtime, but I had had such a nice time. 

I didn't get many photos, but here's what I did get:

Pretty tired first thing in the morning, but this is 37

Sandal Castle. I used to come here all the time when I was a kid, but I honestly don't think I've been in 25 years. Lee had never been

Afternoon tea!


I told you I ordered a lot

Can anyone guess where Poppy might be?

My friend Laura bought me this gorgeous bracelet made by someone she works with. It's moonstone, I love it

And finally, new slippers just before I went to bed!