Sunday, December 30, 2018

Slatterys in Manchester with Helen

As I said, I went to Manchester to see my friend Helen for lunch in the middle of November. I hadn't seen her in over a year although we chat on Twitter and stuff. I suggested going to Slatterys because I love it and I hadn't been in forever.

I set off to Manchester in plenty of time because I wanted to go to John Lewis to buy Lee a tin of Quality Street from there for Christmas. You could choose which of the varieties you wanted, with a minimum of three, so I bought him a tin! I'm sure he'll love them (I'm writing this before Christmas). I also got him a Quality Street advent calendar.

I got to Slatterys really early, but there's a really nice lounge to sit in to wait, and I'd prepared for this and packed my book, so I sat and waited. I was shown to my table when it was ready - Slatterys is always so busy that it's always worth making a booking.

Helen and I had lunch, a main and a pudding, and I had a hot chocolate (which is melted chocolate and hot milk) and Helen had a milkshake. I was a bit disappointed that the main course I wanted - pate and cheese on toast with chutneys - is no longer available. I had the ploughman's lunch but as I don't like gammon I had some breaded chicken instead.

Then I had the strawberry and marshmallow skewers which I LOVE, the chocolate in the cups is melted and it's so yummy.

Afterwards we mooched round the shop for a bit; I bought a fair few presents for people for Christmas, and I drove home listening to Christmas music even though it was a bit early!

I bought myself one of those hair wrap things and I've been finding it really good instead of a towel, but I do need to squeeze more water out of my hair before I step out of the shower. 

Wearing the scarf Jeni crocheted for me :) 

Hot chocolate and the little discs you get with drinks that are so delicious

Ploughman's lunch, it was really nice

My favourite skewers and melted chocolate!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What I Wore November 14th

On November 14th I went across to Manchester to meet my friend Helen. When Jeni was visiting we'd been into Yours Clothing and I picked up this top in the sale. I liked the rose pattern and the silver foiling. I think it was £8 in the sale which is perfect!

I pulled out this tulle Scarlett & Jo skirt which I've not worn in ages. It is quite dressy, but it's easy to wear too and I think it looks fab. The netting has a couple of rips in it but it doesn't really show when it's worn, I could probably sew them up with not much fuss but I haven't got round to it yet.

I need to wear this top again soon because I really like it, maybe I'll have to pair it with this skirt again!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Visit from my friend Jeni

My friend Jeni was over visiting in the middle of November, from Texas. I met her over ten years ago through the Libertines, and she's visited me twice before, in 2009 and 2010. She's had a difficult year, but when she said she was going to come over to the UK and wanted to see me, I jumped at the chance.

A mutual friend of ours, Rachael, was able to get cheap train tickets to Leeds so we decided we would all meet there for lunch and chat. In the event, because of Northern Rail strikes, it took Rachael AGES to get home, but it was really lovely to see her and I'm glad she spent the day with Jeni and me.

In the morning, Lee and I went to a craft fair at a local church, which I'd heard about through my craft club. We spent loads! We got loads of presents and had coffee and some cake, I'm really glad I made the effort to support it even though it made it a really long day for me. Then Lee took me to Leeds and I waited for Rachael and Jeni to arrive.

Jeni has mobility problems so I didn't want to go too far for lunch, but the Wetherspoons was heaving, so we decided to go into the Queens hotel which is right at the front of the station. I've never been in there before, but I'd really like to go back as the food was excellent and they do what sounds like a fantastic afternoon tea. We each had brunch and some drinks.

Lee came to pick us up and then Jeni and I relaxed for the rest of the night :)

Here's the photos from Saturday:

I was wearing my flamingo skirt and pets, hugs and rock n roll top

I also had a glass of prosecco with lunch

Gorgeous smoked salmon and avocado bagel

Rachael took this one

And she also took this one back in the station!

On Sunday, Lee and Jeni and I went to Helmsley in North Yorkshire. I've been loads of times, you might remember from when I've blogged about it before as it's one of my favourite places on earth. It's also quite small and not too difficult to walk around, so I thought it would be good for Jeni. We arrived just as the Remembrance Sunday parade was happening, but we still managed to get parked. We had lunch first of all in the Royal Oak Hotel, each of us going for Sunday lunch which turned out to be yummy. I can sometimes take or leave a Sunday dinner, but I enjoyed this one. 

Then we walked round all the little shops, buying a few little things. Jeni was choosing gifts to take back to the US with her, and I picked up some Secret Santa presents and a couple of books. 

We went into Crema, the little cafe that I love, and had hot drinks and cake. Then we drove down to Rievaulx Abbey so Jeni could see it. On the way back to ours we called in to see my mum as she met Jeni last time she was over, and Jeni met my stepdad. Then Lee made Yorkshire puddings and mashed potato for tea which was perfect!

Here's my photos from Sunday:

Drinking wine in the pub

I love this little bridge in Helmsley that looks down into the beck. 

Salted caramel cake in Crema!

On Monday morning Jeni and I went to my craft club. She crochets (she actually made me a gorgeous scarf) so I knew she'd fit in well, and people were very friendly to her. After that we went to Taco Bell in Barnsley for lunch - being from Texas she wanted to see what it was like here. Then we went into the shopping centre as I needed some bits and Jeni wanted some more presents to take home. 

On Monday night we went to Huddersfield to meet Sam at a restaurant called the Gurkha Sizzler. We'd not been before, and Jeni wanted some curry, so we went. It's small but really nice, the dishes were quite interesting and different to some curry houses. It was thoroughly lovely to see Jeni and I was really sorry to say bye to her on Tuesday morning!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Rachael McShane in Barnsley

When I was at Barnsley Civic in June, seeing Sophie Willan, I noticed that Rachael McShane was playing in November, so I asked my mum if she would go with me. Rachael used to be in the folk band Bellowhead and now she has her own band. She's from Barnsley, it turns out, from Penistone in fact, so it was nice to support her. She's based in the North East now, though.

We had been out earlier in the day seeing Bohemian Rhapsody, but my mum came to pick me up and then we parked and walked along to the Civic. Their lift was out so we had to go in a goods lift, but I was really glad it was there because the steps up are really bad.

Rachael and her band were excellent, I really like their kind of music and I love all the stories behind folk songs. My mum enjoyed herself much more than she thought she would! Afterwards I bought a CD from Rachael and spoke to her briefly. It was a really lovely evening out.

I'd had this Scarlett & Jo dress on all day, you know me, it's comfortable and easy to wear and always looks great. I can't remember what exactly my nail polish was, but I was enjoying the red sparkle. I've also worn this party ring biscuit necklace a few times recently!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Evening with Elly Griffiths

At the beginning of November I got tickets for Lee and I to go to an author signing by Elly Griffiths in Derby. I love Elly Griffiths (you can see my reviews of her books here) so was really keen to go, even though it meant driving to Derby. It was the closest place she was going, so we decided to go anyway.

We set off nice and early and had to wait a bit to get into the Waterstones, so we went to Costa for a drink first. Once we got into Waterstones we were greeted warmly and offered some wine or some juice.

Elly talked for a bit first, then read an extract from her new book The Stranger Diaries. She then let us ask her questions - I asked whether she answers to Elly now (her real name is Domenica de Rosa) and she said she does, even though her friends and family call her Dom. There were about fifteen people in the audience and we had a nice discussion about who would play Ruth or Nelson if the Ruth Galloway novels were ever televised.

I bought myself a copy of The Stranger Diaries and I had taken all the other books by Elly that I could find, so I got those all signed and had a lovely conversation with Elly. She follows me on Twitter so she knew who I was, and it was a real honour to meet her. I love the Ruth Galloway novels because they mix crime fiction with theology and myth, which I love. My favourite is The Janus Stone, which Elly said she was glad to hear because it's one of her favourites!

After the event we went to Yo Sushi for food; it was just closing so not everything was available but we still had a nice meal. When we got home there was a fracas going on in the shared yard outside our house, which wasn't nice at all and really ruined an otherwise lovely evening. But I'm really glad we went and that I got to meet Elly!

I wore this Scarlett & Jo dress because it's comfortable, and paired it with my reddish cardigan from George at Asda. I've been trying to wear some of my pin badges more often, so I wore this nautical star.

I also took this photo of all my signed books - don't they look lovely?

Elly while reading from her book

Me and Elly

A close up of the pin badge

All my books signed!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Films of the Month - October

I watched thirteen films in October. I also went to the theatre to see an amateur production of The History Boys with Sam. It was really good, all the actors were great.

Here's what I watched:

Lee and I watched this, always a classic

And this, which is one of our favourite films!

I was really excited to see Disobedience, because I'm really interested in LGBTQ+ films and in media about fundamental religious strands. This had both, and it is brilliant. Definitely see it. Both Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams are excellent in it. I read an interview with Naomi Alderman about how she wrote the novel Disobedience, and then I bought three books about Orthodox Jewish people, which I'm really interested to read.

Sandra Bullock is always great, so I liked this

Lee and I then watched Toy Story 2 which I think may be the weakest of the three but is still great

I was on a bit of a Rachel Weisz thing so I watched this. I liked it, it's very atmospheric. I haven't read the source novel, but Rebecca is one of my favourite books

Netflix recommended this to me; it's alright, nothing special

I'd had Gods and Monsters recommend to me and finally got around to it. Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser are both great, but I found it an odd film altogether.

It was nearly Halloween so I watched this, it's rubbish though

I don't really like Carey Mulligan but I did enjoy An Education. 

Someone recommended Been So Long on Netflix, it's really good. Very cute! It has songs!

I haven't seen the Little Mermaid since I was about ten years old, so it was on my list of Disney films to watch

Finally, it was Halloween so Lee and I sat down to watch a film. I like the South Park movie even though I know it's awful!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Author Talk in Manchester

At the end of October Lee and I went to Manchester for an author talk. Young Adult authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were on tour throughout the UK and Ireland, talking about their new book, What If It's Us, which they've written together. I heard about this event months ago and booked tickets straight away. I booked a general ticket for Lee, but for myself I got the one that included a copy of the book and a promotional poster. I was really excited for the event and it felt like it had been months before it actually happened!

Lee and I went across to Manchester in the morning; we'd bought sandwiches for lunch and parked near Manchester Central Library to eat them before we went in. The event started at 1, and lasted just over an hour. It was hosted by Lucy, who asked questions, and then there were questions and answers at the end.

I'm a big fan of Becky's books (my tag for her is here) and although I've only read one of Adam's (here) I like him as a person. I've got high hopes for reading their joint book, I'll have to go to it soon.

After the talk there was a signing. There were LOADS of people there. The tickets had said that Adam and Becky would sign their joint book and then ONE other book by each of them, but people had clearly ignored that because everyone had about five books with them. It was kind of a pain because the queue moved extremely slowly; we were queuing for about an hour and twenty minutes, and we were only about two thirds of the way down the queue... I bet Becky and Adam were glad when it was over!

Lee and I left the library about twenty to four and, feeling a bit cold, popped across the road to Caffe Nero for a hot drink. I can't say I've been in Caffe Nero too often but their decaf coffee was really nice - it tasted like the caffeine one!

Once we'd done there we headed down the street to Revolucion de Cuba. I'd seen on google maps that it was close by, and looking at the menu it sounded great. It turned out that tapas was 2 for one on Sundays, and we were cocktails! So we had tapas, and I had four extremely delicious cocktails. I'd definitely go back - I liked the ambience of the place and the food and drinks. Lee's not keen on tapas as a rule but he really enjoyed his, too.

I'd put this Scarlett & Jo skirt on partly because it's warm and the weather had dropped cold. I paired it with this plain turquoise t-shirt from Yours clothing. It's a good look on me I think. I'd chosen blue jewellery and this new rollerboot pin badge. I bought a few badges in the sale on Punky Pins and this is technically a "second", but it's got one mark on that is barely visible, so it was a real bargain! I wore this same outfit the next day too to go to craft club!

I adore this skirt, I love the pattern on it

Rollerboot pin badge!

Becky and Adam in conversation 

Us and them at the signing!

This bee lives in the library

Delicious coffee!

Even more delicious cocktails!

Those nachos were amazing, as were the prawns

Finally, here's all the books I got signed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What I Wore October 27th

At the end of October we had friends over for lunch, we had brunch which was delicious, and then Tom and Lee played Mario Kart and Gillian and I played with their baby, Lily, who is such a sunny and gorgeous little girl. She was very excited to get into absolutely everything in mine and Lee's living room. It was lovely to see them.

When they'd gone I was feeling a little bit stir crazy; I'd been in the house all week and needed to get out, so Lee and I went to Pot House Hamlet near us for hot chocolate and cake. It was pretty late on, but they don't close until 5pm, so it was fine.

I had pulled out this really old Asos dress to wear, I had forgotten how much I like it and it's really cosy and soft to wear, but looks pretty good too. I put a basic white t-shirt underneath, and wore it with leggings.

I'd also painted my nails for the first time in weeks. This is Nomad by Illamasqua; it's a gorgeous matte ish green colour and it applied like a dream - I only needed two coats for really good coverage! I have a couple of others in this range and I really like them

I love this colour!

I was representing Slytherin (I am not apparently a Slytherin)

Victoria sponge

We both had hot chocolate - there was mini marshmallows underneath

I love this dress and this whole look even though it's a bit of a different look for me. I also hadn't realised just how long my hair had got until this photo!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Weekend in Chester - Day 2

This is a shorter post for the Sunday of our trip to Chester, as we didn't do very much. The thing is, my friends and I can have fun driving in the car with a playlist on, so it's fine. You better believe I'd made a playlist especially - this is a playlist of bands from Cheshire (plus a couple from Stockport - which used to be in Cheshire - because Cheshire bands are a bit thin on the ground).

We left the hotel just before eleven and drove through Chester a bit. We had considered going into the city on the Saturday, but I'm not sure I'd be able to cope with it currently, so I'm glad we stayed the other side of the county and that we went to the Spaceport too.

Sam and I had planned to go back to Huddersfield the scenic route, and meet up with Steph on the way. Steph is one of the best people that I've met through blogging and it's always lovely to see her. We'd asked Steph for pub recommendations near where she lives, so we decided to meet up at the Farrars Arms in Saddleworth. It was absolutely gorgeous, a really traditional old pub with amazing good. Sam, Jac, and Steph all had a roast beef dinner which looked amazing. I had a cheese and onion pie with chips. Then we all had sticky toffee pudding for dessert. The portions were really generous and the staff were friendly. I'd definitely go back!

I was wearing this purple dotty dress that I always wear - it's easy to put on and always feels great. It's effortlessly chic, I really like it. My cardigan is from George at Asda, it's really comfortable.

I had such a lovely weekend with my bestest friends!

Jac and Sam in the pub - Jac's jumper is from Next, I really like it

Me and Steph

Cheese and onion pie

Sticky toffee pudding

The outside. We drove back over the tops which were really foggy and rainy and slightly terrifying!

Dotty dress

That day's pin badge!