Friday, October 23, 2020

Day Out with Jacqui

My lovely friend Jacqui turned forty around the middle of September. She was supposed to be in America and Canada for two weeks, but of course Covid put paid to that. She decided to still have some time off work, which was probably good for her as everyone still needs breaks from work even if you're working from home. She had a lovely day on her birthday and around it, I was impressed with what she did from home! I planned to go to see her on the Monday she was off work. I didn't tell her what we were going to do, just that I would pick her up in York. 

I planned to go somewhere for a picnic, but then I wasn't sure where to go or what food to order. I thought about ordering something to pick up in York but it turned out I just couldn't, so I tried to find somewhere close to me to pick up on my way. We have a little cafe in our village and when I asked, they did a takeaway afternoon tea so I ordered two, one being vegetarian for me. I bought some champagne as a present for Jac, and some extra bits of food as I didn't know exactly what would be in the afternoon tea. I packed it all into our picnic bag and set off to Jacqui's. 

My mum had suggested going to Stamford Bridge to eat near the river there. There's a car park and the river is close by, which was perfect for me, plus it's only about half an hour's drive from Jacqui's house. We got there just after twelve. We were a bit laden down with stuff but we only had to walk to the top of a hill and then to the river. It wasn't the most picturesque place but it was flat, we could see the water, and it was under the shade, which was good cos the day was really hot and we would have got sunburnt in the sun. 

The afternoon teas were fab! Jac had ham and cheese and chicken and bacon sandwiches, a piece of quiche, a sausage roll, and a pork pie, plus coleslaw and chutney. I had cheese and tomato and some kind of pepper salad sandwiches, plus coleslaw and chutney, a piece of quiche, and a cheese and onion pasty. Then we got a bag of crisps each and some water, plus of course cake! There was a scone with jam and cream each, and a piece of really delicious chocolate cheesecake. I paid £7 per box and it was well worth it - I would order this again if I needed something similar! Plus of course it's nice to support a local business. 

We both had way enough to eat and didn't touch the extras I had taken along, which meant I just brought them home for Lee and I to eat. I had a glass of the champagne which was chilled and delicious, Jacqui enjoyed it. We chatted about all kinds of stuff and planned a holiday we might like to go on with our friend Sam.

I haven't seen Jac since early March although we've chatted quite a few times which has been nice, but it was lovely to see her in person. She said she'd had a lovely day which is obviously what I wanted for her! She loved the bracelet I made too, which was good!

The birthday girl in the flower crown and sunglasses I bought her, because you always need those on your birthday!

Vegetarian afternoon tea

And the carnivore one

Jac and champagne

And finally the chocolate cheesecake!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Weekend with my Cousins

In the middle of September by cousin Rob and his wife Beth came to ours for the weekend. They wanted to come and meet the kittens so we arranged for them to come for the weekend. We arranged to meet at Yo Sushi in Meadowhall at 6.30ish on the Friday as they had to drive up from Leicester after work. Lee had been working during the day too, so we set off to Meadowhall when he'd finished. 

I haven't been in Meadowhall since lockdown, and I found it quite odd. Normally at that time on a Friday it would be really busy and buzzing, but it was practically empty. We walked through House of Fraser to go to Yo Sushi, which is just outside. I love Yo Sushi and have missed going for six months, I often go with my friend Sarah.

It's quite weird now. There's no food on the conveyor belt anymore. You had to use a QR code which took you to the Yo website to order food. They have a set menu which everyone else went for, but I wanted other stuff so ordered off the main menu. We had had to wait for a bit so the server told us we would get our first drinks free, so I went for a glass of rose wine. We all ordered and then didn't have to wait very long before food started to arrive. The conveyor brings it! Every table has a strip of lights on it, which are usually red. Then when food is on its way to you, the lights go amber. When food stops in front of you and the lights are green, it's your food! It's quite fun, it was a bit novel. I had all my vegetarian and vegan favourites, which was really yummy. 

Afterwards we went home and Rob and Beth met the kittens, who were of course happy to have new people to play with. 

On Saturday we chilled out in the morning and had lunch at home, then went into Barnsley to go bowling. There's an alley at the leisure centre, but in sixteen years of living in Barnsley I've never been. There are eight lanes but currently every other one is closed to allow for social distancing. We had to book ahead, so I'd booked two games. It wasn't very busy at all, and we had a lot of fun. I'm quite good at bowling, and I won the second game which I was pleased about!

Beth wanted to pop into Primark so we headed to the shopping centre after bowling. Lee and I went into TKMaxx which was really nearly empty. I got a couple of things including some reusable straws which I've been wanting for a while. 

We went home after that. We had got stuff to make a fake chicken, leek, and mushroom pie, plus roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and vegetables for tea. Plus I wanted to make an apple crumble for pudding, so I had got some stewed apples off my mum and put it together. It was SO GOOD! Sticky and sweet and crumbly, just yummy with Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream! 

After tea we watched The History Boys together, which I've been wanting Rob to watch but he hadn't seen it yet. While we did that, I brought down all my jewellery supplies because I wanted to make a bracelet for my friend Jacqui. It was her 40th birthday and I was seeing her a couple of days later. I'd bought a few new bits but also used loads of bits from my stash. I am really pleased with the results. I love that the bracelet isn't symmetrical and I really like the colours. I hope Jacqui loves it too! Beth also made some bits for herself and Rob. 

On Sunday morning we chilled out for a bit longer playing Mario Kart before we all left the house. Rob and Beth were going home, and Lee and I had to go to Tesco to get stuff I needed for my plans for Jacqui's birthday! I'll post about that in my next post, though.

Kittens on Friday night being stroked. Also, our entire house is cat toys now

Poppy snuggling with Beth on Saturday morning

And then Jasmine having a cuddle too


Rob and Beth

Lee playing his turn

Me and Lee

Pie and all the trimmings - absolutely gorgeous!

While we were eating Poppy was asleep behind this cushion

It doesn't look amazing but my apple crumble tasted so good!

Jacqui's bracelet! Her birthstone is sapphire so I bought the sapphire teardrop pendant and the little sapphire beads. She likes purple so I bought the purple and bronze beads. My aunt sent me some of the silver beads. Otherwise I used what I have - I have a lot of supplies and could make a lot of jewellery if I tried hard! I'm really thrilled with how it looks and I hope Jacqui will love it too!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Day Out in Cleethorpes

In the middle of September Lee and I went to Cleethorpes for the day. We had a free weekend and I wanted to go to the seaside, so we decided to go there as it's one of the closest seasides to us. We've been before - we went with friends and we went camping there with my mum and stepdad - but we hadn't been for ages. We set off nice and early and managed to park along the seafront, which is only £5 for the whole day, which is good. We then went straight to the crazy golf course.

We've played it before and it's a cute one. There was a big bottle of hand sanitiser and paper towel, so we wiped everything down again (I'm sure it had been done before). We set off playing but were behind two families and kids, meaning it took a bit longer. But it's fine, we had fun. Then we went to the hut next door and got a strawberry whipped ice cream each. 

We then went into some amusements. Again, there were hand sanitiser stations all over. We played a couple of machines but then decided to play bowling. There were hand sanitisers on each of the lanes, which was really good. We made sure to use it and to not touch our faces in between. We both did quite well at bowling, it's something I did a lot as a kid and find a lot of fun. 

After that it was lunchtime so we walked along and on to the pier. When we first went to Cleethorpes the pier was closed and the restaurant on it wasn't open. But now it is! It's a fish and chip restaurant but I had checked beforehand and knew they had vegetarian options. There was a bit of a queue for a table, but plenty of space to wait in the bar area, so we got drinks. We hadn't been there very long when a staff member said there was a table outside and would anyone like it. Yes! Yes I definitely wanted it! It was lovely sunshine outside and about twenty degrees, which was perfect. I couldn't understand why people DON'T want to sit outside.

We had a lovely view of the beach and the sea. Lee had fish and chips and bread, and I had battered halloumi and chips. It was really nice! I love battered halloumi. Plus it wasn't very expensive. 

After lunch we headed into a different amusement arcade. This one had one of the Pacman 2p machines, which are my absolute favourites. You put the 2p down, but you get chances to get an arcade game playing too, and more coins will be put in by the machine. You can actually make your money back, but what's the point in that? At one point I got 5 chains in the arcade game, meaning I got 112 coins put into the machine! It's ridiculous! It had to do it in three lots! I won loads back, and I played until there was nothing left. I'm not joking when I say I played for the best part of an hour for the £1.50's worth of 2ps I had got! Such a lot of fun. Then we played Mario Kart and I beat Lee, he wasn't happy. 

It was almost 3pm by this point and we considered going on the road train along the front, but weren't sure how long it would be, and we needed to get back for the kittens. We had already given them breakfast and lunch at the same time and knew they'd be needing tea soon. Kittens eat a lot! And often! It's one of many things we've found weird after having an older cat who was only fed twice a day for so long. So we got donuts fresh from the oil and drove down the seafront a bit before turning to go home.

It was a really lovely day and I'm glad we bothered to do it, it was lovely to spend the day together. We were careful to use the hand sanitiser and be careful generally, which is all I'm bothered about currently.

The sea was really far out when we arrived

Playing mini golf

Strawberry ice cream after!

Playing bowling. Lee beat me, which is unusual, I usually beat him!

Apparently this is true!

Lee took this of me and him sitting outside waiting for lunch

And I took this of him against the railing - pretty nice view for lunch!

Battered halloumi, chips, and mushy peas - gorgeous!

Playing the Pacman machine, look at my winnings!

Lee got blue slush on the way home

And I got some longed for donuts!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Swimming in September

As I've said previously, I have really missed swimming since the pandemic hit. We would normally go to the gym at least once a week, and we had holidays cancelled that both had pools involved - one in Tenerife, and one on a complex in the Cotswolds - that we had booked specifically because there was a pool. On a holiday like this, we would normally go swimming EVERY day. If we go out during the day, even when we're abroad, we'll still get back in time to go swimming for an hour or so before eating. It's something I really like about holidays, and swimming in general is one of my favourite things in the world, and I have missed it. 

Our gym reopened at the beginning of August but it didn't feel safe enough for us so we paused our memberships for a couple of months. But it still meant I missed swimming! We went to the big leisure complex in Barnsley on Lee's birthday, which was lovely, but it was quite busy. But I heard about this little pool in Penistone a while ago, and over the past couple of months they've been doing private hire too. They've got some very random times available, and it's £20 for the hour, which was slightly expensive, but I thought it was worth it as I really wanted a swim. I managed to snag a session first thing one morning so we got up bright and early and headed to Penistone.

The pool is in the garden of someone's house. It's a weird set up, but there are plenty of videos on their Facebook page to explain what to do. You park in the (closed) leisure centre across the road and then walk through the garage to the pool changing rooms. I left the payment in an envelope in a letter box, and we used the hand sanitiser. We had our costumes on underneath our clothes, so we stripped off and left our stuff in the changing rooms.

It's a strange little pool - you going out of the changing rooms up two steps, and then immediately down steps at the side of the pool. At one side closest to the changing rooms, there's no way to walk round the pool/no edge to it. There's just the wall. And the steps are quite steep. At the other side, there is a small walkway, which leads down to a door. There's also a viewing room where parents can sit while their kids have lessons. The pool has a step just after the steps in the first photo, and then gets quite deep - by the deep end it is two metres deep!

We got in at 8.30. The water was really warm - the thermometer said 26 degrees which is perfect. The pool isn't very long but long enough to do a little bit of swimming in, which is what we wanted. We lounged and chatted and swam and basically had a good time for an hour!

Afterwards you only get ten minutes to get out so that they can clean before the next people arrive, so we just chucked our clothes back on and sat on towels and plastic bags in the car to drive home. Lee got straight in the shower but I laid in bed for a bit reading. Jasmine is one of those cats that go mad for chlorine, so she licked me and bit my arm for a while. Then I finally got in the shower. 

I've been keeping an eye on the pool's Facebook in case another time slot that's good for us pops up. I'd recommend it if you're in the area!

Lee took this and his phone was all steamy!

Here I'm standing on the step that is between the changing room and the pool. That silver rail on the right is in the water

This is the far side that does have a small walkway. The steps you can see here are doubled below my feet, if that makes sense

Saturday, October 10, 2020

What I Wore 5th September

On Saturday 5th September Lee and I headed to Asda in Barnsley in the morning. I'd been wanting to buy some new bedding that I'd seen a friend buy, so thought we could do that and get some bits at the same time. When we got there though, they didn't have the bedding I wanted. But we got some groceries and I had a nice mooch around a big supermarket, which I've not done in absolutely forever. It wasn't that busy - Asda on a Saturday morning used to be absolutely hell on earth but there really weren't that many people around. 

Anyway, here's what I wore. I pulled out this black dress that I got from Evans at a time I don't even remember as I haven't bought from them in years. I love the polka dotted pattern, which is one of my favourites. And I really like the fake wrap look! On the top there is a gap between the two bits of fabric, but there's a stitch which stops the wrap from opening so that's good. On the bottom the skirt goes all the way around and then there's the front flap which makes it look like a wrap. It's an easy and comfortable dress to throw on. 

Then, my shoes! I usually buy a pair of black leather slip on shoes that I can chuck on any time I need to go out of the house, or when I know I'll have to take my shoes off (like when I'm going to the gym). They have to be leather, they have to be comfortable, they have to be slip on so I can do them without hurting myself, and they're better if they're black as that goes with anything. I've had this one pair for a couple of years now and they're in need of going in the bin. They're looking really shabby. I bought them from Pavers so they were about £35 and I think I've had my money's worth out of them. In March, before lockdown, I thought, oh I should really go to Skopos Mill in Batley and buy some more shoes from the Pavers outlet there. Then of course lockdown happened and I couldn't do that. So I've had this old pair for longer than normal and I'm so ready to bin them.

So then I remembered that I have a pair of Dr Marten shoes, in a t-bar style. I bought them absolutely years ago off eBay I think, and I have worn them a few times, but never enough to properly wear them in. If you've ever had Dr Martens you'll know that they can often rub for a while until you soften them up - that's happened with all the boots I've had and I've had plenty of blisters to prove it! But I thought that I could slip these on, by not undoing the buckle and just shoving my feet in. So today I did that. I can do it, but it is a bit tough. I'm hoping that will get easier as they soften. They do fit, but are slightly tight across the top of my foot, so I might wear some socks with them and try to stretch them a bit. I wore them round Asda and they didn't hurt, so I have high hopes that I can wear them in and use them as my every day shoes. That's good because a) it means I don't have to spend any money right now (my income has gone down as a result of the pandemic and there being les work for me to do) and b) they're Dr Martens and therefore badass and c) they're cute!

Black T-bar Dr Marten shoes

Really old Evans mock wrap dress!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Films of the Month - August

I only watched eight films in August and have no excuse as to why except that I was obsessed with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and watched loads of that instead. Haha, oh well! Here's what I did watch:

Netflix recommended The Kissing Booth to me and I liked it, I thought it was cute and I liked the main characters and actors

Sam and I watched Walk the Line, which is one of my favourite films ever. She hadn't seen it in a while. It's still great

I love films about dancing so I thought I'd give Work It a go. It's okay, nothing amazing but cute

Lee wanted me to watch Jurassic Park, which I've never seen (I know!). I quite liked it, Laura Dern is a babe obviously

I watched The Kissing Booth 2 as I'd seen the first one. It's not as good, but I still liked it

I've been meaning to watch Coal Miner's Daughter, a biopic of country singer Loretta Lynn, for ages. It was really good! I enjoyed it a lot

Lee and I watched Wayne's World on his birthday as he wanted to. I know it's totally stupid but I love it and have since I was way too young to be watching it!

So then just before we went away we watched Wayne's World 2, I think it's my favourite of the two as I love Del Preston and the whole rock concert thing so much

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Weekend in Cirencester

At the end of August we went away with all my family to Cirencester, in the Cotswolds, for a long weekend. In previous years we have gone camping with my family at least one weekend in the summer, but thanks to Covid we decided to hire two cottages instead so we could all go together but separately. When we then tried to look for cottages, they were all booked up or really expensive, so we decided to go on a holiday park in the Cotswolds. We were in a three bedroomed chalet and my aunt and her family were in a three bedroomed static caravan. This then meant we were able to invite my grandma. I felt quite bad for her as she's been alone over the last few months, but she didn't really seem to enjoy herself so I'm not sure if it was worth taking her or not. 

Lee and I decided to set off on the Thursday so booked an extra night and offered to take my grandma with us. So we set off then with her. We arrived around 5pm and looked around the chalet and unpacked and stuff. Then Lee and I went out for tea - I thought my grandma would come but she decided she would stay in the chalet. We struggled to find somewhere as everywhere needed a booking, but rang up a Thai restaurant which had a table, so we went there. It was so good! I had vegetable satay which was great, and then Pad Thai which was nice. When we got back to the chalet my mum and stepdad had arrived, as they'd been able to set off earlier, so that was nice. 

On Friday morning Lee and I made the lasagnes we were going to eat later on. We made a meat one and a vegetarian one which was good. Then my mum and Lee and I went to a fabric shop nearby where I managed to get the material for the attic curtains in our house, which is great! We then drove into Cirencester and went into a couple of shops and had a coffee, which was nice. On the way there we had been past this airfield where there were loads of old planes parked. So then we drove back there with my stepdad so he could take photos. It was pretty weird but cool to see!

When we got back my aunt, uncle, and one of my cousins had arrived. We started getting tea ready and then my other cousin and his wife arrived. The lasagne was so good - I dunno what we did differently but it was really nice. 

On Saturday we headed over to my aunt's caravan to see what it was like. The park was pretty big and they were on the side of a lake which was nice. The caravan was really nicely decorated but kind of small for six or eight people, so we were glad we had our chalet with a bigger living area for everyone to sit in. We left my grandma there for lunch as she was going with my aunt and co to a local arboretum. My cousin Peter came out with Lee and I for a little bit. We drove around, saw some other lakes, got some ice cream, and got back. It was a peaceful day.

My mum made hunter's chicken for tea, which for me was Quorn chicken with fake bacon - and it was delicious! I haven't had that a vegetarian but I'll definitely make it for myself as it was just so nice. My cousin Rob had made a tres leches cake, which I enjoyed tasting but didn't love, so I wouldn't choose it again. We played games after tea.

On Sunday morning Caroline and Neil and Rob went swimming. There were two pools on site and you had to have a pass - which we didn't have, so we hadn't brought our swimming stuff. But Caroline DID have them and weren't using them all, so Lee and I went into the pool area and sat on the side with our feet in the water. It was lovely - it wasn't boiling weather but warm enough for the water to feel refreshing. We were there just under and hour. In the afternoon I showed everyone how to make envelopes. It's something I do a lot for my penpal letters - I use old maps, photos from books, scrapbooking paper, wallpaper. Basically anything that I think will make a nice envelope! I have a bunch of templates and also a punch board that's really easy to use, so pretty much everyone made at leats one envelope! My cousin Peter made a few for his girlfriend, and Beth made a ton - she got really into it. It was a nice, easy craft for everyone to join in with. 

In the evening my aunt and uncle made a deconstructed salad nicoise to eat, with chickpeas instead of tuna for me. It was SO nice! Then for dessert they made sticky toffee pudding which was so good! 

On Monday we just had to pack up and come home. Lee and I got home around lunchtime and were really glad to get home and see the kittens! We had missed them. It was a really lovely weekend, though, and I'm so glad we went. 

Tempura vegetables with satay sauce

Pad Thai

Cooking the lasagnes on Friday morning!

Saturday was a bit rainy and at this point it was absolutely bouncing it down

Looking out from Caroline's caravan's deck

One of the places Lee and Peter and I went

Lee and I :) 

Me and Peter

We were in the hide when I took this, we wished we had some binoculars to look at the birds properly

This was a waterskiing lake

Ice cream with sprinkles!

We stopped here for a bit too, there were people paddle boarding but I liked these swans too

The cygnets were nearly full grown but still grey

I finished my previous book so this was my new one

In the pool on Sunday morning! The lifeguard was happy for us to just sit on the side, which was really good

Caroline and Neil and Rob swimming

Me while in the pool

This lake was just behind the pool

In the afternoon we played boules (well I just watched to be honest)

And again

Ann the envelopes we made! Mine are to the left

Deconstructed salad nicoise! This was so nice, Lee and I will have to do something similar

And the gorgeous sticky toffee pudding

We went outside to take photos of all of us together, and the sky was really gorgeous

The lighting wasn't great for a team photo, but we managed it!

This was the cabin! It was so cute

Rob took these photos - this is his wife Beth

And the other side

And finally last thing at night, the moon was peeking through the clouds and I took this lovely photo