Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Films of the Month - January

I don't feel like I had a good start to the year filmswise, although I did go to the cinema twice. I'm already doing better in February though. I would like to make more time to go to the cinema. My BFF goes all the time so I'll just have to tag along with her.

I was still in the Christmas spirit so I watched The Holiday as I've never seen it before. I liked Kate Winslet and Jack Black the best, but overall it was a cute film. 

I watched this for Jane's online film club. I hadn't seen it in years so it was good to see again and have a discussion with other people about it. 

I'd heard this was good so decided to watch it. It was fun and funny and I'll have to see the sequel at some point. Mila Kunis was really good.

I went to the cinema with Sam to see this. I loved the first one and this one is equally ridiculous. They're really good family films and really capture the spirit of Paddington.

Because I'd watched Bad Moms I decided to watch Bridesmaids again. I love it, I love Kristen Wiig a lot

Unrest - now this was on Netflix and I'd implore you to go and watch it RIGHT NOW. It's about the disease ME, made by one woman but it touches on other people's stories too. A close friend of mine has ME so it's a subject close to my heart. This is a heart wrenching documentary about a disease that is widely misunderstood, everyone should watch it.

This documentary about Oasis was on iPlayer and I'd heard it was good. It is, it focusses on Noel's and Liam's early lives in very touching ways, as well as the band and their successes. I wasn't a huge Oasis fan when I was a teen but there are certain songs that I love, so I enjoyed watching this.

I'm not quite sure why this was in my head but it was. I've seen it before, but not for years. I loved the book and although the film doesn't quite match up, it is a good film and it looks so beautiful.

A few people had mentioned that the documentary about Amy Winehouse was on 4OD so I knew I would have to watch it. I was a big fan of hers, and it still rattles me that she's dead and that she died so young. We would have actually been in the same year at school, she was just a few months older than me. The film is really traumatic to listen to, so I had to watch it in short bursts. It was amazing to see such lovely film footage of her. 

Finally, my mum and I went to the cinema to see The Greatest Showman. I wanted to see it and she said she'd come with me - and I think she enjoyed it more than I did. It looks stunning and a lot of the songs were really catchy, but I didn't love it. Hugh Jackman is very pretty, though!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Weekend of Food

I know I'm not a recipe blog, I know that my food photos aren't perfectly shot on lovely plates with bright lighting, I know you might not care, but we've been trying really hard to eat delicious and homemade food recently so I've been sharing some photos on my Instagram. I thought I'd share them here too with some basic recipes.

Salmon and broccoli pasta - this is one of my favourite meals but we hadn't had it in a few weeks. I never used to like broccoli but used to force myself to eat it because the iron was good for me, and now I've got used to it and quite like it. This is a simple dish. We sautee onion in a pan until it's translucent, and add a fillet of salmon and some water. We usually just put garlic and salt in, but you could add paprika or something too. Add the broccoli because you want to cook it slightly, even if it stays quite al dente. Cook the pasta and then add it to the pan with the salmon and the vegetables, and mix all through. Add some single cream and toss around. We eat it with garlic bread. 

I really fancied a whole Sunday dinner on Sunday. Lee makes an excellent roast dinner so I just leave him to it. We roasted a whole chicken, and also roasted all the vegetables - parsnips, potatoes, and carrots. I remembered we had stuffing which was great - we roast that in the oven too. Lee's Yorkshire puddings are so good, really fluffy and never soggy. This whole meal was so good for a cold Sunday evening!

When I was young my mum would quite often make chocolate upside down pudding for pudding after Sunday dinner, so I decided I'd quite like to make some and asked her for the recipe. I think she got it off a Bero packet of flour some time in the early 80s. It's really simple but effective:

For the batter:
4oz self raising flour
2oz castor sugar
2tbsp cocoa
2oz melted butter
Half a pint of milk

For the sauce:
5oz brown sugar
2tbsp cocoa
1/4 pint plus 2tbsp boiling water

For the batter, mix the butter and milk together and then add this liquid to all the dry ingredients. Mix into a smooth batter. Then for the sauce, boil the kettle, put the sugar and cocoa powder into a jug and add the boiling water. Stir until smooth.

Pour the batter into an ovenproof dish, like a lasagne dish or something. Then pour the sauce on top. Bake on gas mark 4 for about 40 minutes, until the sponge is baked on top. While baking, the sponge rises to the top and the sauce ends up underneath, all sticky and delicious. Serve with vanilla ice cream or alternatively custard (I don't like custard).

I mad up this recipe for curried cold chicken rice salad and it turned out really deliciously so I think we'll be making it again. We used packet chicken tikka, the type that comes from near the sliced ham in the supermarket and which you'd put in a sandwich. We cut it up into little bits and added it to a bowl with some cold cooked rice, some bell pepper, and half an apple. I stirred into some mayonnaise, some turmeric, and some curry powder, to taste. We served it with lettuce, mini poppadums and mango chutney. It was really simple but effective and I bet it'll be even nicer in the summer! 

I wonder what new recipes February has in store for us!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Visit to Prashad

Towards the end of January I went out with my friend Laura for tea. We went to Prashad, near Birstall, where we've been before, because we know it's nice and because Laura, as a vegetarian, likes to have a lot of choice. We met at 5pm, just as the restaurant was opening, so we quickly got a seat. All the waiters are really nice, which I like. We ordered some drinks and were given an amuse bouche each. It was delicious.

We had poppadums and pickle tray first of all. The pickles were different from in other Indian restaurants, I really liked them all. For starter I had lassan paneer tikka, which came beautifully presented. There were three really substantial pieces of paneer and two mushrooms, all coated in a really spicy coating. The raita was delicious too. The whole starter was really filling and quite spicy (and I like spicy!) but so good. Laura had a different paneer dish.

For mains Laura had kofte, and I had the massala dosa that I had last time. It's a potato curry served in a dosa, which is like a huge crepe. I knew I wouldn't be able to eat it all, so I immediately cut it in half so that I could bring some home for lunch the next day. I never have any qualms about doing that in restaurants - you paid for it, ask if you can take it if you want it!

After that neither of us had any room for dessert, but we each had a hot drink. Peppermint tea for Laura and a decaffeinated Americano coffee for me. It was really nice coffee and was served with hot milk and sugar. The bill was £66 which is a little bit more than you'd pay in some Indian restaurants but it's really fancy and feels really special. We'll definitely go again. I'm not vegetarian but I like to eat veggie food a lot and this tastes so nice.

I also had a delicious mango lassi, I often find they're too yoghurty but Prashad's one is really sweet and smooth, I wish I could get it everywhere!

I took some photos:

Gorgeous lassi

Lassan paneer tikka with raita

Massala dosa, served with lentil broth and coconut chutney

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hanging out with Sarah

I wanted to write about an evening with my friend Sarah at the end of January, because I had such a lovely evening even though I was feeling so crap.

I picked up some kind of virus in Scarborough, it was horrible. I felt like I had flu - exhausted, all my limbs aching, headachey and tired - but I didn't have any cold symptoms. Two nights in a row I went to bed about 9.30 because I was just so tired. Lee had it too, it was nasty. On the Thursday of that week I'd arranged to go to my friend Sarah's house. At first both Lee and I were going to go to chill out with Sarah and her husband Tom, but then Tom was working away and Lee had band practice.

I struggled through work on Thursday, doing just what needed doing and coming home by 2pm. I considered cancelling on Sarah, but I wanted to hang out with her and we also needed to swap birthday presents. So I decided I would go, but messaged her to say I wasn't well and that I would go in my pyjamas. That meant I didn't have to get dressed again, and I knew she wouldn't mind. I put my shoes and hoodie on in the car, because it was cold, and I took Lee's blanket to snuggle under. I also took wine. Sarah was also in her pyjamas, and we ordered pizza from Dominos and drank wine and watched Emmerdale. It was really lovely - no pressure on either of us to be at our best, but we were in company rather than both sitting at home feeling under the weather.

I really appreciate having friends to whom I can say "I'm coming in my pyjamas" and know that it's okay. If you ever need to do the same to me, it is always acceptable to wear your pyjamas in my house.

Sarah bought me this tote bag, isn't it great?

Friday, February 16, 2018

What I Wore January 20th

As I said, I'd ordered a few dresses from Scarlett and Jo but only kept two. This was the second one and it's definitely more of a summer dress as it has tiny sleeves, but I really wanted to wear it so I just packed my long sleeved black cardigan to wear over the top. I absolutely adore the colour of this dress, it's a gorgeous dark purple which really shows off the dots. It's really similar to my Lollidot heart purple dress in style, but this one is darker in colour. It also, again, has pockets, which I love! I think I'll wear this a lot because it's one of those dresses you can just throw on but which look stunning.

I can't wait to wear this on holiday

Do you like Bettie's reflection in the mirror?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What I Wore January 19th

Just before Christmas I ordered a few bits off Scarlett and Jo, but I sent most of it back and just kept a couple of dresses. They're both more summery dresses really but I wanted to wear them so I just made them work. Layers are my friend!

So first of all, on my birthday itself, I wore this pinafore dress. I'd seen it on the website but couldn't really work out how it would look on me, but then last June I saw it on someone else and thought it looked really cute with a plain top underneath. So I ordered it. I liked this colour and thought I'd pair it with a plain black top from Simply Be. The straps are a bit loose on me, even on the tightest button, so I might sew them a bit tighter.

The skirt is really nice and flowy, though, and the dress as a whole is a nice length on me. It also has pockets, and they're really deep and useful. I really like the dress, but I'm also glad I didn't pay full price for it, if that makes sense.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Saturday in Scarborough

We had a really chilled out Saturday in Scarborough which we possibly all needed. After a relaxed late breakfast of croissants and crumpets, we headed on to the front. We played in some amusements and then played pool for ages upstairs in Gilly's, before heading to the Harbour Bar again. This time I definitely wanted a sundae as I hadn't had one the day before. It was really busy but we managed to get seats along the bar.

After the Harbour Bar we went to look at Scarborough Castle and also found Anne Bronte's grave. I knew she died in Scarborough but I've never seen the grave before, so it was fun to find it.

We headed back to the apartment soon afterwards and relaxed all evening. We got fish and chips from a local chippy at about 7pm, and played a bunch of board games. It was just really lovely.

This Scarborough based art was on the wall in our flat

I took this panorama of the south bay

Lee playing pool

Lee and I doing our best impression of being in an Edward Hopper painting

Coke float!

And my Pear Valentino, it was yummy and had loads of pear in it

Lee and I - such a lovely photo of us :) 

Part of the castle, although we didn't go in

Looking down on the bay from near Anne Bronte's grave

The original gravestone, and the slab placed just a few years ago

It's nice that lots of people still visit it

The new slab

And finally, my stepdad took this photo on his new go-pro type camera, it's cool isn't it?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Birthday Evening Out

So as I said, we were in Scarborough for my birthday. After we'd been to the Sealife Centre we went down on to the front and into the Harbour Bar. It's a Scarborough tradition and it's gorgeous. We got there just about 4.20, which is January means they weren't far off closing. Still, we managed to get drinks and ice creams. I had a strawberry ice cream milkshake which was yummy.

We headed back to the apartment for a little while so I could open my birthday presents. Lee bought me a gorgeous claddagh ring and a few other bits, but we've also booked to go away in March to Skipton too. My mum bought me some jewellery and a really pretty glass, and some other bits. We had some wine and got changed and ready, and headed down to Ask about 7pm.

I'm not sure I've ever been to Ask in any place except Scarborough, but it's one of my favourite restaurants there. It's right on the harbour with views of the bay and loads of lobster nets stacked up next to it. I love it! I booked a table and what made it even sweeter was that I had a voucher for 50% off main courses. That made it really cheap! We each had a starter and a main, and plenty of drinks, and then headed back to the apartment for birthday cake.

I had arancini and a calzone, both of which were so delicious. Everyone enjoyed the food so it was a good choice. Here's some photos:

Strawberry milkshake in the Harbour Bar

My stepdad, mum, Lee, Jen, and Bettie

My mum bought this stuff that you put in sparkling wine and it makes it sparkly and swirly. It's fun but I didn't like the taste of it very much

My friend Laura bought me a Terry Barlow tote bag, I love him so much

Here's the claddagh ring Lee bought me, it has a garnet in it for my birthstone

This was some kind of tropical mojito, I liked it. I shared a bottle of good red with my mum and stepdad too 

The cake wouldn't come out in whole pieces but it was delicious and chocolate orange flavoured

Finally, here was my last photo in the room we were going to share with Bettie and Jen, but the bunk beds were really rickety so we ended up sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room instead. It was pretty comfortable though. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My birthday in Scarborough

19th January was my 34th birthday, and we went to Scarborough for the weekend, with my mum, stepdad, and our friends Bettie and Jen. It was absolutely lovely and although I'm so, so tired afterwards, it was worth it. I booked us into a flat on Columbus Ravine which had free on street parking which was useful for us. I would stay there again even though it was quite small, Scarborough can be really expensive but this wasn't too bad. We set off on Friday morning, my birthday, and got to the flat around 1pm.

The layout was a bit odd, we had to go through one of the bedrooms to get into the flat, and there wasn't much communal space, but it was perfectly fine for us for the weekend. We left our stuff and went to the Sealife Centre. I went to the one in Scarborough when I was about nine years old or something, and I've been to some others, but I hadn't been to this one in twenty five years! So I thought it would be fun to do. We booked online, which saves you 50% of the ticket price! Unfortunately, we couldn't see the Giant Octopus because they're redoing its exhibit, but we were given vouchers to go back for free once it is open. We also couldn't walk with the penguins because of a current risk of bird flu, but we could still see the penguins.

We set off looking in the main fish tanks, looking at fish and manta rays, then some jellyfish, then a tannoy announcement came on to tell us that they were about to feed the seals, so we headed outside to watch that. There were two seals in the seal hospital, who were rescued near Scarborough, but the main ones were outside in the seal pool. There are five adults who can't be released for one reason or another, and four pups currently who will be released close to the coast. The worker feeding them was really knowledgeable about them and told us a lot about their past, which was really lovely.

After the seals the penguins were being fed so we headed to them. They are so cute, I would like to steal one and keep it in the bath. Again, the worker telling us about them knew a lot of stuff. Once that was done we headed back inside and saw the rest of the fish and stuff. All in all, we spent two hours in there which was a good amount of time.

I think I'll post a bunch of photos from the Sealife Centre now and leave the rest of my birthday for the next post!

Gorgeous big manta rays


I love the way the light was hitting this one

Fish in a huge tank

There were so many fish in this tank!

This yellow striped one kept swimming backwards and forwards in front of us. Honestly I could've stood here for ages watching these fish

Jellyfish. I think they're so beautiful even though they're so poisonous

Lots of the Sealife animals are rescue animals for one reason or another, but these ones were bred at the centre

Bettie and Jen through the jellyfish tank

These are upside down jellyfish! So cool

The seals!

Doesn't this one really look like a dog swimming?

Out of the water!


My mum against the scale of penguins

This one was called Custard and he came across to see us

Otters! There are just two at the centre

Shark! He was about two feet tall

Giant Turtle! He was so beautiful

Chilling on top of the water


And finally, a clownfish :)