Monday, April 30, 2018

Trip to York

On the 10th of April it was ten years since my dad died, it was really upsetting me as it feels like so long has passed and also like it happened just yesterday, so I wanted to do something to mark the occasion. I've thought a lot about my dad's suicide and what happened consequently, and about how it changed and shaped my life. I miss him every single day and wish he was still here. Suicide is a really permanent solution to temporary problems. 

I don't like to go to my dad's grave very much, because I don't feel he is there. I prefer to go somewhere that I've been with my dad, like I always remember him when we go to Scarborough because he really loved it there. He also really liked York - we used to stay in the caravan near there loads when I was younger. So we decided to go to York for the day - me, Lee, my mum, and my stepdad.

We set off quite early and parked the car at the caravan site where my mum's caravan lives, the owner was nice enough to let us park there. It's cheaper for four of us to get the bus from there into town than it is to pay for five hours of parking (parking in York is really expensive!). We got the bus just after eleven and walked from Stonebow along Colliergate, then down Goodramgate as Lee and I wanted to go in The Travelling Man comic book shop, and Earworm Records. We didn't actually buy anything, but it was nice to look in both shops, especially as we found York Zine Library upstairs in Travelling Man. 

We then went straight to Betty's because it was almost lunchtime and we knew there would be a queue. My dad liked to go there, so we thought we would go. We queued only from the door to inside, but we were still waiting around half an hour. The queue got really big behind us, though!

I had Yorkshire rarebit which is my go to dish there, I love how cheesy it is. Then for dessert I had a giant raspberry macaron with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries inside it. It was lush! My mum and I also had a glass of pink champagne each and drank a toast to my dad.

After lunch we walked down Stonegate and went into the front of Evil Eye where they sell a billion different types of gin. I don't even like gin! But my stepdad bought himself some that he wanted to try. Then we cut through past Barley Hall and walked along Low Petergate. A friend of Lee's lives in York so we decided to meet up with him in The Last Drop Inn for a drink. We stayed in there quite a while, then got the bus back to the caravan site to get back in the car.

We'd have probably stayed in York longer and had some food there in the evening, but we had to get back to look at Lee's new car. We were picking it up the next day and the Car People make you do like a pre check before you pick it up. So we went back to Wakefield to do that, and then decided what to do for food. I fancied curry, so we went to Red Chilli II on Kirkgate. I've never been before, but everyone else had - my stepdad had his stag do there in 2010. I thought it was delicious - really nice food. I had paneer pakora to start with and then a Goan chicken curry for mains. I took photos of my food but the lighting was really purple so the photos don't look right! My dad liked curry a lot, so it was very fitting. 

After food we went home, but I had a really lovely day and I think my dad would have enjoyed it too!

Here's a few photos: 

This is my dad! I love this photo, it is stuck on the wall next to my desk so I see it every day

Lee and I on the bus. It was absolutely throwing it down on our way to York and on the bus, but then it dried up thankfully

York Zine Library! Lee and I stayed a little bit and I read a couple of zines, and of course I recognised lots by friends of mine

Queueing in Betty's

My delicious macaron, all their food is good though

I bought myself some macarons to bring home, in this gorgeous box which I may have to keep for pens or something. I've got raspberry, mango, cassis, lemon, and two chocolate ones. They do gooseberry too but I didn't fancy that one!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Trip to Leeds

At the beginning of April I went to Leeds with my friends Sam and Jacqui to see a film and have something to eat and have a few drinks. I had a really lovely time, I was feeling a bit miserable because it was just a couple of days before the 10th anniversary of my dad's death, but it really lifted my spirits to talk to my friends and do some fun things.

Jacqui and I met first in The Light and went into Browns. It was busy but okay. I've never been in the Leeds one, it's quite upmarket so it felt like a real treat. Cocktails were between £7 and £8, so I wouldn't want to spend all night in there but for a couple of drinks it was really nice. I had a Pina Colada, an Aeporol Spritz, and a peach bellini. They were all really nice!

We left the bar and went upstairs to the Vue cinema to see Love, Simon. I was so excited for it because I loved the book, and it definitely did not disappoint. I cried, I laughed, I thought Nick Robinson was a perfect choice to play Simon. I had a Tango Ice Blast (one of my favourite parts of going to the cinema) and we shared some popcorn.

Afterwards, we had booked a table at Turtle Bay, which is honestly one of my favourite places to eat. I love the spicy curries they do, which come in enamel dishes with rice and a little bit of bread or something similar. They're like real comfort food to me. We had dessert too, I had a brownie. I also had a Roots Culture cocktail which was strawberry and pomegranate flavour which was really delicious, and an Island Iced Tea. I usually love a Long Island Iced Tea but I didn't rate this one, I wouldn't have it again.

Finally, we popped into Frankie & Benny's next door to Turtle Bay for a final cocktail. I had a Sex on the Beach which was nice enough. I had a really lovely day with my friends, we were making plans for later in the year and maybe even next year. Perfect!

I of course took some photos:

Pina Colada in Browns

Aperol Spritz in Browns, I find this a really weird drink but oddly delicious

My chicken curry in Turtle Bay

And my yummy dessert!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What I Wore April 5th

I wore this outfit to work and thought I'd just share it with you because although it's a basic outfit, it is the kind of thing I wear to work most of the time. I don't wear dresses for work, usually. I tend to wear a long skirt instead. I did have a long black one, but it's got holes in the lace and needs throwing out. I've been looking for a replacement but haven't found one yet. Yours Clothing has got a white one and I'm tempted to buy it and dye it! I'll see

Anyway I've been wearing this patterned skirt instead. It's from Yours too, I bought it a couple of years ago and I really like it. I wear an underskirt underneath which is as much for warmth as anything. The top is from Simply Be, I think it came in a multipack with a black one and a white one. I wear them with anything basically!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Trip to Meadowhall

Lee and I had had such a nice Easter weekend together - first Roslyn's wedding, and then on the Sunday we'd done some jobs in the house and made a Sunday dinner - that I asked him to stay until the Monday so we could do something together then. It's very hard navigating these kinds of waters where we are living separately but still want to spend time with each other, but we both figure there's no rules so whatever feels fine is good at any particular moment.

We weren't sure what to do, but then I thought it would be nice to go to Meadowhall and go to the Godiva cafe as I knew Lee would like it, and I also wanted to get a few bits there and wander around Hobbycraft. I woke up early to a blanket of snow! Oh no! However, I went back to sleep for a bit and when I woke up it had started to melt so setting off wasn't too difficult.

We got to Meadowhall about half past twelve and went straight to Godiva. It isn't the hugest place and there was a long queue after us. Lee just had a croissant for his first course, he said it was really nice and very like ones you get in French bakeries. I had a smoked salmon sandwich which was really yummy, it had some kind of salty cream underneath the salmon. We each had a hot chocolate which comes with a fancy chocolate basket on top and a white chocolate spoon. Mine was salted caramel which was really nice, it's so thick too. Lee had the classic hot chocolate and really enjoyed it.

Lee had the dessert I had last time, but I went for something different and tried this orange and white chocolate one. It was nice, quite tartly and refreshingly orange, but I preferred the one Lee had so I think I would go for that one again!

We went to HMV and Lush and Paperchase and Warren James, then went over to the retail park to go into Hobbycraft. I was very restrained and only got a pad of paper and some notecards. Cute, though!

Here's some photos from the day:

Quite a bit of snow! I was so cross but at least it didn't stop us doing anything

The spectacular hot chocolate. We saw a person making the chocolate baskets, he piped chocolate on to iced water and then used his hands to make them into a shape. Really cool!

Smoke salmon sandwich

My orange dessert

Lee's mousse dessert

The waitress recommended that we cut the desserts down the middle to see what they look like, mine had this orange puree in the middle.

I was given a really nice set of rose gold earrings and necklace for my birthday so I wanted a ring to go with them. There was the matching ring in Warren James, but I didn't like it on very much, I preferred this one. I really like rose gold, I'm glad it's in fashion at the moment

Sorry about the light behind me, here's what I was wearing. The skirt is from Scarlett and Jo via Evans about four years ago, I love the colour though.

Here's the necklace I was wearing, it is made from a hundred year old postmark! I have a few like this, they're nice to wear

And finally here's what I bought - moisturiser from Lush, and some notecards and paper from Hobbycraft!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Films of the Month - March

I watched ten films in March which is pretty average for me. Now that we're a quarter of the way through the year I can tell you I have watched 31 films, 15 of which I have never seen before. I've been to the cinema twice and seen just four films with Lee. We have really different taste in films so it's no surprise!

Here's what I watched:

West Is West - although I love East Is East I had only seen its sequel once before, so I decided to watch it. I liked it, but it's not as good as the first

Lee and I watched Return of the Jedi together, we don't seem to ever choose this one of the original trilogy. Loads of stuff happens that I'd forgotten about. 

I'd never seen The Imitation Game but I kept seeing it mentioned on Tumblr so watched it. I liked it, even though I'm not overly keen on Benedict Cumberbatch

Sam came to mine the week that everything was up in the air with Lee and I, when he was with family in Durham, and we watched this. I wasn't thinking too clearly so something comforting and familiar like this was lovely

I hadn't seen Grease in absolute years, and I really enjoyed the rewatch even though it's a ridiculous film

So then I watched the sequel, Grease 2, which I think is unfairly maligned, it's pretty good and Michelle Pfeiffer is great

I had been reading a lot about the Aids crisis so thought I would watch And The Band Played On. It took me ages to realise the main character is played by the guy who plays Joker in Full Metal Jacket (one of my all time favourite films, even though it is so depressing). I thought this was a really good film, I'd recommend it.

Lee and I watched Star Wars together, we always watch the Empire Strikes Back as that is my favourite. I do love this one, though.

I want to watch more Disney films, so I watched Lady and the Tramp as I've not seen it since I was a small child. It's cute! Not very long

Finally I watched England Is Mine, a film about Morrissey's early life. It's good, there's not much plot but it's very atmospheric of the late 70s/early 80s. Recommended for fans of the Smiths!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What I Wore March 31st

You've already seen this dress but that's because I couldn't resist posting the photo of Lee and I as we both look really happy in it. I did a huge Simply Be order recently, but I sent it all back except a few nighties and two dresses. This is one of the dresses. I loved the mint green of the skirt and I thought that this dress would be perfect for an Easter wedding.

The neckline is slightly Bardot ish, I guess you could wear it rolled down, but I liked it like this because it didn't show my bra straps. I think it looks nice anyway. I wore the dress with my Evans leggings and the leather boots I bought recently. They are slightly tight on the ankles but I think they'll give a bit as they're leather. I was really glad I'd worn them because part of Kelham Island was really cold, I was glad my leggings were tucked in!

The material of this dress is slightly like scuba material, and is quite staticky, neither of these things bother me but some people don't like those things! The dress was around £23 in the sale which is a great price :)

I love this style of dress as you'll know, I must own about ten dresses with the wide elastic band on the middle like this! I like the silhouette it gives me, and I feel comfortable in dresses like this. The colour of the skirt is a bit more minty than is showing in this lighting.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wedding at Kelham Island

At the end of March my friend Roslyn got married at Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield. Roslyn is one of my oldest friends - I met her when I was on a school trip aged 15, she was two years above me at school but we liked the same band and became friends. She was my witness when Lee and I got married. She is honestly the closest thing I have to a sister, even if we go through periods of not seeing each other much.

We went around lots of the museum during the day and Lee and I read quite a lot of the information. There's a lot about industry in Sheffield which is really interesting. The ceremony itself took place in the Engine Room, which houses the WORLD'S largest steam engine! It was stunning. We then moved into the museum itself for drinks and photos. The meal took places in the cafe and it was really nice. We had teak smoked chicken and bacon salad, then roast turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, roast pork, and some salads, and then chocolate mousse with little biscuits. It was really delicious.

Then we moved through into the pub on site, which is called the Millowners' Arms. There was loads of history stuff in there too. Roslyn and Paul took their baby for a quick drive round the block to try and get him to sleep, and when they got back there was a really nice buffet and wedding cake. Lee and I didn't stay long after that; Lee had slipped out already to go to a nearby supermarket for stuff we needed for Easter Sunday.

It is a really gorgeous place to get married though, and the staff were all really nice and very helpful. The food was really nice too. I'd definitely recommend it for a wedding!

I of course took a few photos:

Roslyn and the baby. Her dress was so pretty! It had a sparkly bit on the middle that isn't visible here

Some of the museum info, I liked this bit about Barnsley since I live here

Lee and I in the Engine Room. More on my outfit in my next post

The steam engine

Cute sculptures made out of some of Sheffield's world famous cutlery

Roslyn and Paul had gone for a rainbow theme and it was reflected in the flowers. These on the table were gorgeous

I was given a jar to bring home but very stupidly left them on the table in the pub! I hope someone else took them instead

Chocolate mousse and biscuits, it was yummy!

And finally, here's Roslyn and Paul giving their speech.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Books of the Month - March

I only read four books in March. I would have liked more, but things conspired against me. Lee and I are currently living apart. We had a huge argument at the beginning of March and Lee went to Durham for a week to give us both some space. Since then I've seen him about twice a week, and he's staying with friends in Sheffield.

It's been difficult. I've never lived by myself and I'm finding it tough. I am finding it very helpful to have Ivy with me, she's been great company and has slept on Lee's pillows next to me almost every night. I'm quite scared of the dark so I've been leaving the bathroom light on just to put a bit of light into the bedroom when I wake up in the night. I haven't slept very well, and I haven't really been settling down to read like I normally would. I'd started something that was really heavy, so I gave it up and read two middle grade books instead, and then an easy YA read.

I think Lee and I will be okay, but we need to get some stuff in place to help us both be better. We're both quite mentally ill, and need some help to work through some stuff. We've been talking a lot and already started to make progress. By the time you read this, he may well be back at home, although we're both willing to give it longer than that if we need to. We've been together a really long time and generally things are really good, but we have some underlying issues that need sorting out if we want to be together for another eighteen years. I love him very much and I know he loves me, so I'm pretty positive about things, even if I am often feeling very vulnerable, scared, and alone.

I think social media can often give a really rosy impression of life, and I don't like it. Life has its ups and downs. I didn't want to lie about it, so here's a little update into my life.

And here are the books I read in March:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What I Wore March 24th

As I said, Lee and I went to Preston for a literature conference, and I wore this dress for the first time. I ordered it recently off the Scarlett & Jo website, and really liked it. It's really similar to the new purple polka dot dress I have, but I think the style really suits me and I think they're really good quality and easy to wear. I thought the background of this dress was navy blue, but it's actually black, so I paired it with a black cardigan instead of a navy one. I like the flower pattern, and I of course love the pockets. I need all my dresses to have pockets, to be honest.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Photo an Hour - March

March's photo an hour happened to fall on the day that I was going to the Northern YA Literature Festival, held for the first time. It was in Preston at the UCLan campus and it was free! I'd registered for tickets way back in January and booked two for Lee to come with me. Now, Lee and I are currently living apart and have been since the beginning of March. We're still together, but we're trying to sort out some underlying relationship stuff and to give each other a break from the other. But I knew I wouldn't be able to cope with going by myself so I asked Lee to come along. We have been seeing each other a couple of times a week so I thought we would be okay and would have a good time. And we did! Lee stayed over in our house both nights and we had a nice weekend together. On the Sunday we went to the supermarket to stock up on some bits for me, and then we had lunch together before he went.

I think we will be okay and will sort it all out, but we need to just be apart for now.

Anyway, back to Saturday. We got up at stupid o'clock to go to Preston, got to the conference in time for it to open, listened to the first panel, had some lunch, listened to another panel and the author conversations, and attended a bunch of signings, bought books, all that good stuff! We set off home about five thirty, and when we got home we ordered a takeaway and watched Star Wars. I crashed into bed just before 10pm and then woke up about midnight on the verge of being sick. I felt dreadful! I went back to sleep and then woke up about 4.30am with my stomach still really upset. I managed to go back to sleep again and got up about 10. I still didn't feel right! But the clocks had gone forward and it was a sunny day, both of which helped me feel better.

Anyway, he are my hourly photos from Saturday:

7am and I was awake, in a fashion. I was so tired, I hadn't slept well on the Friday night. Also why does my left eyebrow look perfect and the right one look weird?!

8am and we set off, we had to go to the post office first to collect something. This is just as we were leaving our street.

9am and I was playing DJ in the car. We listened to some very weird cover versions, but this one reminded me how much I like the original

10am in the queue for the conference with Lee. 

11am and the first panel, on getting into publishing, was about to start

Noon and I was in the queue for Anna Day (on the left) to sign my book. I enjoyed listening to the other lady, Teri Terry, but I don't have any books by her

1pm. Lee and I went across the road from the venue and were going to go into Subway, but it was really busy so we went two doors away to this falafel place. I had the hummous platter with falafel, it also came with a pitta bread. It was SO GOOD! I really enjoyed it. They had really nice juices, too.

2pm, this was the panel on feminism in YA. 

3pm, ish, kind of, this was another signing queue. The room was pretty well laid out, I liked it

4pm, this was Alwyn Hamilton talking about her books

5pm, I was getting tireder and taking ugly selfies, oh well!

6pm, back in the car on the way home with the sun shining behind us

7pm and it had fallen dark. This was on the M62 on our way home

8pm ish, we decided to watch A New Hope, this is Luke and Obi Wan, I know it's not easy to see

9pm, me curled up in my pyjamas... And like I say, I then headed off to bed!