Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Meal Out with Family and What I Wore 1st November

My aunt came up overnight at the beginning of November, to stay with my grandma. My mum said we should all go out for tea on the Friday night, so she booked a table at the Ruddy Duck near where I work in Wakefield. She checked first that there were enough veggie options, and told me there was a whole vegan menu! That's really exciting for me as a vegetarian.

We got there around 6.30 as Lee had had to drive home from work. It was quite busy, but we got served at the bar quickly and the food arrived in pretty good time. I decided to go for the buffalo cauliflower tacos which came with a corn on the cob and lime and coriander rice. It was so nice, all vegan, and really really delicious. I would eat it again in a heartbeat!

I had chocolate fudge cake and ice cream for dessert. Not vegan but they have vegan desserts including ice cream. Everyone else enjoyed their food too, and it's a cheap pub - two courses for all of us wasn't even seventy pounds!

We went back to my grandma's afterwards. I popped into Sainsbury's to get some wine to share, which was nice. We stayed really late but it was nice to see my aunt!

I had put on this Asos dress that I've had forever. I love the tartan skirt and the shirt like top. It's really unline any other dress that I own. I put a plain white top from Simply Be underneath. I think the whole look is "a little bit country and a little bit rock n roll". My aunt liked it too.

Really yummy food

And my outfit when I got home - I love the little peek of tartan in the breast pocket (which actually functions!)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Afternoon Tea in York

On Halloween I wasn't doing anything spooky or scary, I was headed to York to meet up with my two uni friends, Katie and Kate. Katie and I get together quite often, as Katie lives in Wakefield, but we don't often get to see Kate, who lives in Darlington. We all met at York St John university way back in 2002, so we decided to go to York this time. Katie mentioned that she'd seen they serve afternoon tea in the Principal Hotel, which is just next to the station. That's perfect for me, because it's not too far for me to go.

I said I would book it, and when I googled, a website called Yorkshire Food Guide popped up with a voucher. The Principal's champagne afternoon tea is £30.50, but the voucher offered it for £22 each. I had to buy the voucher through them, then book the tea with the hotel itself, but the voucher people did have an online chat so I could check availability, which I thought was good. I hope that all makes sense! I was happy to find the voucher though!

Lee works at home on Thursdays so he took me to the station in Barnsley, where I got on a train to Leeds. In Leeds, I had quite a long wait, so I got a coffee and sat in the waiting room, before getting on the train Katie happened to be on. We arrived in York at around 12.30 so we went into the station pub to wait for Kate.

We went into the Principal Hotel just before 1pm, and went through to the Garden Room where afternoon tea is served. We each got a coupe of champagne and ordered tea - peppermint for me as it's the only tea I like, and I don't even really like it that much.

We got our first course, which was a tiny cup of pumpkin soup, a tiny goats cheese and beetroot muffin, and for me, coriander hummus on a cracker (Katie and Kate had smoked mackarel on theirs). Then the tea arrived on trays. There were egg and cheese and chutney sandwiches for me and beef ones for Katie and Kate. Then there were three mini scones - one maple and pecan, one plain, and one sultana, served with tons of clotted cream and raspberry jam. Then there were the cakes - an apple tart which I didn't really like, a pumpkin spice macaron, a sour cherry and lemon battenburg, and a dark chocolate orange cake. It was nice food and we didn't feel like we were being rushed out of the place.

We got another drink a bit later. I went for something called Answers On A Postcard which was raspberry flavoured with chambord and disarrono, it was really nice!

We finally left at around 4.30 to go get on our trains home. We have already decided that we will look into going to a spa together next year, possibly February, so I'm really excited about that.

I used my Benefit eyeliner, some Urban Decay eyeshadow, and my Body Shop powder foundation

Gorgeous Kate


Gorgeous Katie

The first course - I'm not sure I've ever had pumpkin soup but I really liked it


Scones - I wasn't keen on the maple and pecan one but liked the others


I was wearing this Simply Be dress, I love the mint skirt and the shoulders of the top

And here's my cocktail later!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Trip to Todmorden and Hebden Bridge

At the end of October my BFFs Sam and Jac and I went away to Todmorden overnight. It wasn't for anything special, just for the sake of being together and having some fun. Sam works Saturdays so we weren't sure what time we would be able to set off. I suggested that we went to Hebden Bridge because I've been meaning to go for ages. I looked for accomodation in Hebden Bridge but it was expensive, so I looked a bit further away in Todmorden.

This apartment popped up and it was perfect for us, especially as it has on site parking. I booked it and we made plans to meet in Huddersfield first. Sam managed to finish early so the three of us met at the Turkish restaurant and had lunch. I had cheesy poppers and then vegetable kebab, both of which were really nice. We set off to Todmorden at around 2pm. It didn't take long to get there but there's a lot of twisty, turny roads to get up there!

The apartment was absolutely gorgeous, really clean and with a lot of amenities. I would recommend it, if you're ever up that way! The host, Shirley, was really lovely too. We told her we were just planning to stay in. We had brought supplies! We all got into our pyjamas really early and watched terrible TV. There were a couple of games so we played Trivial Pursuit and then Speechless, which we ended up modifying into charades. It was a fun evening, really funny times with my friends.

On Sunday morning we left the apartment at around 10am and went into Hebden Bridge. We parked and walked across one of the bridges towards the market. The market was so good - there were so many stalls selling delicious food and handmade things. I honestly could have spent a fortune there! We walked down to the ducks and then popped into a tea room for breakfast. A hot chocolate and a currant teacake later and I felt so much better! I hadn't slept well and I've been having a lot of pain problems and driving has been difficult. But I wanted to press on.

I bought Lee some bread and some brownies as I knew he'd like them, and then I suggested that we went up to Heptonstall to see Sylvia Plath's gravestone. It happened to be her birthday, so it felt apt. I've never been, even though it isn't that far away from where I live. I'm a huge Plath fan but I thought the grave was hard to get to, like a steep walk from the village. However, when I googled it, someone on Tripadvisor had said that it was easy to find, so we set off. It is a bit complicated, but you can drive right up to the church, and then the grave is in the cemetery just across from it.

It was moving to see her grave, I'm really glad we went. You can read more about it here on my book blog.

After that we drove through Mytholmroyd to go to Sowerby Bridge for lunch. The countryside around there is just so beautiful and breathtaking. I really haven't spent enough time up there in recent years. Sam suggested going to Temujin which I've been to before, but years ago. They do an endless buffet now, where you go to a buffet and choose noodles, vegetables, protein including tofu or meat, then hand your plate to a chef who stir fries it all fresh. You can choose from a bunch of different oils to cook in, and then from a bunch of sauces. It's quite fun to do. For my first go I had Quorn and veggies in Penang sauce, which was really spicy but really delicious. Sam and Jac both enjoyed the variety of meat on offer, including wild boar and kangaroo!

After lunch we headed back to Huddersfield where we said goodbye until next time!

Playing Trivial Pursuit with snacks

And then Speechless, which was boggling and didn't have a timer but had silver balls coming down the tower instead? Weird

River Calder in Hebden Bridge

And the other way

How pretty was this plant?

Me and Jac and Sam, I love this photo!

I'm pretty sure this stencil is Sylvia Plath

The river was really high but it had been raining a lot

These ducks are really friendly

Especially this one, who let us get up close

Hot chocolate

I do not eat enough currant teacakes, for sure

Sylvia's grave

It's got stones left on it, and pens, which I liked

The epitaph is from the Bhagavad Gita

Looking down the road in Heptonstall, isn't it gorgeous? 

The canal at Sowerby Bridge

I'm so glad the weather was nice for us cos it made it such a nicer day

I took this from inside the restaurant

A look at some of the stir frying

Penang curry

I chose tons of really nice veggies

And here's Jacqui waiting for hers to be cooked!

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Cross Stitch Scene for Me

Towards the end of October I finally finished this huge cross stitch piece that I've been working on on and off since January. It was a Caterpillar Cross Stitch stitch-along and I bought the kit plus the patterns released monthly via pdf. I knew I wouldn't keep up monthly, but also, I knew that was okay and I would get it finished eventually. Lee has been printing off the patterns each month for me and I've been working on it bit by bit. I took it to craft club for quite a few weeks, and everyone there thought the design was really pretty. For me, I love that Sally's designs are really modern and don't require any half stitches or back stitch, two things which really annoy me! For that reason, they're really good for beginners. The kits are a little expensive but you get everything included and more thread than you would ever need.

I finally finished the last bit - the jellyfish - on a Tuesday night, desperate to get it done before I went to bed. You can see where the hoop was even. I don't iron my cross stitch (I don't iron anything in life!) but I'm hoping that when I get this framed the creases will stretch out.

My favourite bits here are the umbrella, the beach huts, the starfish, the oyster, and the lollipop. It is such a cute scene but I think I will definitely do some smaller bits of it in future for gifts. As for this one, it's all for me!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

What I Wore October 19th

For Lincoln Zine Fest I put on this skirt, which I recently altered from a dress, and this t-shirt we made on camp, which I've decided to call my bike punk t-shirt.

The dress was one of my favourites, I love the skirt part and it has pockets and always made me feel so fancy. But the top was too short for me - if I wore it so that it came high enough up on my cleavage, the skirt elastic was pulled right up under my boobs which made the whole dress sit funny. If I pulled the elastic on to my waist, my boobs were exposed by the top part going too low. It was driving me mad. So I decided to just cut the top off. It's easy to do - I did it with another Scarlett & Jo dress fairly recently too and have liked wearing it as a skirt.

This is perfect now it's just a skirt. It has a lining and some netting, to make it stick out a bit. It's fancy but fun. I love it!

The t-shirt was one my mum did when we were camping because she was in charge of the bleach. I've worn it before, I love the pattern on it and felt the two items looked good together. I got some lovely compliments on the day about both the skirt at the top, so I think I was right!

I also put on my grey cardigan for travelling and for walking round town as it had dropped quite cold.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Lincoln Zine Fest 2019

To start off with, I have managed to get my Etsy store updated with all my zines in it. If you would like to buy any, this is my store.

October was time for Lincoln Zine Fest again! We went the first two years but were on holiday last year and couldn't make it, so I was glad we could go this year. We set off early, bought snacks, and got to Lincoln just after 10pm. It was held this year in an arts space called Mansions of the Future. The room was small but Lou had managed to fit in loads of zinesters, and there were loads of visitors throughout the day.

We sold quite a few zines and traded a few too. I sat cross stitching for most of the day. Lee went round to New Look to take a parcel back for me, and brought lunch back. I was chatting to Bettie and Jen and Miriam and Janet and Lou, among some others. We packed up at 4pm and said bye to everyone.

Lee and I went into the centre to go to Flying Tiger, where I bought many fun things including a rainbow tote bag. We popped into Waterstones, where I had a gift card to spend, but I ended up only buying one book (very unlike me!). Then we went round to the waterfront where there's a bunch of restaurants. I'd asked Lou where was best to eat and she'd mentioned here. She said there was a Wagamama so we went in there. We got in just before hordes of people came in, meaning we got seated pretty quickly.

Lee decided to have chicken skewers and then chilli chicken ramen. Since I went vegetarian he rarely eats chicken. He often has tuna for lunch and sometimes if we have different things for tea he'll buy himself a chicken ready meal, but by and large he eats vegetarian like I do. So often when we go out he likes to have chicken.

I got bang bang cauliflower which I've had before and which is really spicy and sticky cauliflower, I love it. I went for the avant gard'n main dish which is teriyaki seitan with brown rice, stir fried greens, stir fried mushrooms, edamame beans, a vegan "egg", and salad. I liked it - the seitan was really good and sticky, and the rice was great - but it wasn't the best dish I've ever had there and I wouldn't get it again. We also ordered some vegetarian steamed buns which had aubergine and mushroom and were really nice.

After we'd eaten we set off home and got back around 8pm, so we had a bit of time then to chill out before an early night!

My stall at the zine fest. I was only selling my own zines this time, except for the Buffy one that Cath and Laura wrote

This seal was on a huge heavy fire door going into a pantry, isn't it fabulous?

Close up of my zines

Lee down by the waterfront

I took this of us but managed to get my finger in it, whoops

My food. The egg was a strange texture, like a white foam almost - like one of those shower jellies from Lush!

Bang bang cauliflower

And the steamed buns!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Crochet Heart for Owen

My friend Stacey had a baby back in June and I was considering what to make as a gift for him. I tie dyed some sleepsuits for him actually when we were tie dyeing in August, but I wanted to make something else. I wasn't sure what, but then in the course of tidying up, I came across this polystyrene heart that I had bought ages ago to make some kind of decoration with. I thought it would be perfect for a baby.

I crocheted a long strip to go round it, in a rainbow of colours. (Owen is Stacey's rainbow baby). I had all the yarn already on hand, I just picked out the brightest colours. I did seven rows of each colour I think, using the heart as a guide for width too. I doubled up on the lilac so that I could us that at the top of the heart, and then reversed the colours. The crocheting took no time at all. I didn't sew in the ends because I knew I could just hide them when I sewed the strip to the heart.

I did that with a length of red yarn and a darning needle. I tried to be neat, but went off course a little bit as you can see. But, it looks perfect from the front. Crochet is very forgiving and stretched easily into shape.

I found some cream aida for the cross stitch and pulled out black thread and red, orange, and yellow threads, again stuff that I already had on hand. I wasn't sure which font to use for Owen's name, so I googled a lot. I finally went with this pattern, which is called Beloved, which I thought was lovely. The cross stitching didn't take very long either and I'm pleased with it.

I sewed the cross stitch on to the heart using little cross stitches in the corners, with lilac thread. It's delicate but I thought it looked good. I'm really pleased with it in general!

Stacey loved it and says it's going in Owen's bedroom when he moves into it. His first name is one they both liked, David is after his dad, and Branwell is after Branwell Bronte as Stacey and Dave got engaged and married in Haworth. Isn't it a lovely name?

I like the heart, and I'm glad Stacey does too! I hope Owen does also as he grows up.

The long strip. I was making this at craft club

Later that day when I'd done the whole strip

During sewing on, I tried really hard to balance the colours right and I think I managed it. I sewed the two red ends together so it looked like a continuous strip

See, once it's done you can barely see the join

My sewing isn't bad, it went a bit off on the left there but is basically fine!

Once I had finished the cross stitch. I cut the pieces down to size a little bit before I put them on the heart

And finally, once I had sewed them on! Isn't it cute? I'm impressed with myself