Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bank Holiday Monday

We were having a heatwave on the first May Bank Holiday and I loved it. I thrive in the sun and didn't want to sit inside doing nothing. I was pretty tired from Northwest Zinefest the day before, but wanted to get out, so we just went along to Pot House Hamlet which is really close to our house. I've been there a lot of times for lunch, but we decided to just get an ice cream each and sat on the steps eating them.

We had a bit of a gap under our fence and we were worried Ivy would be able to crawl underneath it (I'm pretty sure she would fit, I just don't think SHE knows that...) so we wanted to buy a shrub to put there. We bought one and also some new plants for the planters we got last year.

When we got home it was so sunny so I sat outside reading for a little bit. Ivy was wandering in and out, mostly lying in the shade. I got too hot so sat inside with Lee for a bit, but then as it go to about 3.30pm it was cool enough to sit outside.

We'd invited my mum and stepdad over for tea, they arrived about 4.30. We all sat outside and my mum made us plant the new plants. She and I had some wine and Lee cooked some really yummy food. We sat inside to eat but we had the door open to let the breeze in. Lee is very seriously considering buying a paddling pool to put his feet in over the summer!

I didn't take any outfit photos or even any photos of the new plants, because I was having a relaxing day and not really thinking about that. But I did take these two photos:

My ice cream - I had mint choc chip and vanilla, it was yummy!

There was only this one tiny cloud in the whole sky!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Northwest Zinefest and What I Wore 6th May

On the 6th of May Lee and I went to Northwest Zinefest in Manchester. It was a really lovely day and I'm so glad we went. You can't go to ALL the Zinefests, but Manchester is one of my favourites, partly because it is partly organised by my friend Ingrid, and I like to support my friends.

Lee and I set off around 10am, stopped to buy lunch and snacks, and got to Manchester just after 11. The event was held at Partisan Collective on Cheetham Hill Rd, so it was easy to get to and there was plenty of parking around it. The venue isn't wheelchair accessible which is a shame. It is a DIY venue and they are trying to make it accessible. It does have gender neutral toilets which is good. I liked it, even if I didn't go anywhere other than the basement.

We had a stall against the back wall next to my friend Kirsty and near my friend Janet. I was feeling really ill so Lee set up most of our stall, bless him. The event opened at twelve and it went so quickly! It was a really hot day but cool in the basement, although I was glad we were by the open door. We sold loads of zines and did some trades. I only had a couple of looks around but I bought a few zines too. Someone Lee vaguely knows was there so we spoke to them a bit. Mostly I sat crocheting, which did get a lot of people talking to me.

We left shortly after 5pm and stopped near our house to pick up takeaway, it was honestly the best food I'd had in ages cos I was so hungry! It was a tiring day but we had a really good time.

I wore this blue Scarlett & Jo skirt and was looking for a plain white top to go with it, but came across this "Pets & Hugs & Rock n Roll" one. It still had its tags on so I've clearly never worn it. I thought it looked good!

I didn't take many photos but here's a few:

I swear this top is white, it just didn't look it in the shade!

Half of our stall

Some of the zines I bought or traded for

And again! I can't wait to get reading all of these!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Tez Ilyas and What I Wore May 5th

On the 5th of May Lee and Sam and I had tickets to see Tez Ilyas in Bradford. Sam and I have seen him twice previously, but Lee hadn't see him. I really thought he would like him though so I bought him a ticket. Lee and I met Sam in Bradford and we went to MyLahore for food. I've never been in there before, but there's tons of choice and it's cheap and it came quickly. Sam and I both had keema mince, melted cheese, and jalapenos on chips, it was so good and so junk food-y. We also shared a hug of mango lassi (my new favourite thing). Lee had a chicken burger. The place was absolutely rammed, but I would definitely go again as it was yummy and spicy.

We walked down to the Alhambra Studio, which is where we saw Tez before. We had third row seats which were ideal. Tez came on first to warm up the crowd, and then his support Simon came on. I didn't like him much, but Lee really liked his surreal humour. After the interval Tez did his show Teztify. It is funny, but also heart wrenching and thought provoking. Tez talks a lot about being Muslim and being working class. I really like his humour and Lee did too which I was pleased about.

I knew from previous experience that Tez always meets fans straight after, so while Sam rushed off for her train Lee and I walked out and joined a queue in the bar area where Tez already was, having just walked there straight offstage. However, drama then happened as the fire alarm started going off and the entire Alhambra complex was evacuated! I'm really glad our show had already finished! Tez started to chat to people on the street so I told him that I'd seen him a couple of times and he was so lovely about this, and really pleased when Lee said that he'd really enjoyed the show. I utterly recommend him, he's so funny and very astute.

I wore this ancient Simply Be dress. It was about 24 degrees when we set off and I needed something cool, so Lee pulled this out. I probably wouldn't have chosen it but I do love it, so I slipped it on.

It was a really lovely evening out :)

Simply Be skater dress with fruit and fans pattern

Tez's background

And us afterwards. I love him!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Films of the Month - April

I watched eleven films in April, and went to the cinema twice! I managed to watch three films on the last day of April, I guess I was just in that kind of mood. Here's what I watched:

I love the first St Trinian's film, I think it's really kitsch and ridiculous. It's ages since I'd seen it.

So I watched the second one too. It's not as good as the first but it's still entertaining enough

I went to the cinema to see Love, Simon and I loved it. I reviewed it here. I'm especially glad I saw it with my best friends.

I had never seen this, it's pretty funny even if you don't know a lot about football. Ricky Tomlinson is excellent

This is a really interesting look at events after Vincent Van Gogh's death, and it looks fantastic. Many of the artists whose work is featured were women. I liked it, but looking at the moving background for the entire length of the film was hard on my eyes.

This was on iPlayer and I can never resist watching any of the Wallace & Gromit stuff. This one is possibly my favourite because I like the penguin so much.

Sam and I went to see this at the cinema, it's about a comedian in the 70s. It's good, but really dark in places. 

Having watched Wallace & Gromit, I watched Chicken Run, it's really cute. It was on a list of films I wanted to watch, so I felt accomplished in crossing it off!

I had been reminded of Louis' look back at when he had met Jimmy Savile in the light of the truth about Savile, so decided to watch it again. It's on Netflix and I think it's a really sensitive look at whether Louis should have picked up on something or asked Jimmy more probing questions. I don't think Louis was to blame - I think abusers are very good at covering their tracks and I think Savile was so odd that Louis did the best he could. Definitely watch this if you haven't already.

Control is one of my favourite films and I think Sam Riley is perfect as Ian Curtis. I hadn't seen this in a while so I watched it while I was crocheting. 

And finally, my friend Sam recommended this documentary on Netflix. It's about three Hasidic Jews trying to leave the community and the ostracisation that they each face. I would definitely recommend it.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Meal Out and What I Wore 29th April

On Sunday the 29th Lee and I had a quiet day at home. I was writing and crocheting, and Lee painted a second coat of paint in the bathroom. But we left home about 5pm to go to Prashad. I've been a few times with friends, but Lee had never been and that felt unfair as he really likes vegetarian food (he doesn't eat red meat) and Indian food. So last time I went I promised him we'd go, so I booked a table for Sunday evening. We set off in glorious sunshine which was nice.

We liked the food, but I felt the service was slightly lacking this time - I felt like we were rushed through a bit. But Lee really enjoyed it, which was the main thing. We shared poppadums and pickles to start with, which were nice. Lee had the chaat as a starter, which was served cold and actually a bit like a samosa salad. He really liked it, it was really spicy though!

I had the lassan paneer tikka, which I've had before and know that I really like. The paneer is seared in huge cubes, and is really spicy and tangy. The cooling sauce with it is definitely needed! Here's my starter:

Three cubes of cheese with pepper on top, and two spicy mushrooms. It doesn't look like loads but it's really filling!

Next, Lee had the bhaji naan, which is what I had last time I went (with Janet). He really liked it. It is heavy on the garlic though, so be warned. I had the massala dosa, which is potato and onion curry served in a crepe. I love it! I totally can't eat it all though, so I cut it in half and ate half, bringing the other half home to eat for lunch the following day. 

Masala dosa, served with a curry broth and mint sauce

After the food we called in at my mum's. She and I had a couple of glasses of wine each and we all chatted, it was really nice. I was wearing this Scarlett & Jo dress, which was the first one by them I ever owned I think! I love it, it's really pretty and feels lovely to wear. 

I took this photo on our way out - so sunny but it was still cold!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Photo an Hour 28th April

Saturday 28th April was Photo An Hour again which I like to join in with over on my Instagram. Sometimes you end up documenting the most mundane of days, but I love that too. But this Saturday was quite busy for me, so here we go, I'll just post the photos:

We got up quite late, after lounging around for a bit together in bed. This was around 10

Lee made fried egg sandwiches for brunch, they're so simple but so delicious

Doing some crocheting. This is a birthday present for my mum for her 60th in May, I'll post when I've finished it. The colours are just lush

We've been cleaning all the windows in the house because they haven't been done in forever. The Velux window in the attic had had some glue stuck on it for years, but Lee managed to remove it with nail polish remover, so that's good. You can see me sitting down - this is where my desk lives in the attic. Hi! *waves*

Lee was photographing some stuff to put on eBay

The blanket seems to have really grown recently. I love the stacked shells at the top. It's now big enough to keep me really cosy while I crochet. I'm trying very hard to put some love into every stitch!

Around 5pm. I had been in the shower ready to go out

6pm, we were in Lush in Meadowhall. Lee wanted some new moisturiser for his face and also bought a solid shampoo bar. I love the salespeople in Lush, they're always really friendly and knowledgeable about the products

We headed up to Handmade Burger Co for food because Lee wanted milkshake. We haven't been there in ages so it was really nice

I had a beef burger with crushed avocado and bacon. Lee had a cajun chicken burger, and we shared some fries and some onion rings.

We headed into Sheffield to go to the Harley, because we were going to see Trampolene. I only know them because their lead singer Jack has been in Peter Doherty's band for a while now, so I thought I'd check them out. They're pretty good, they sound a bit like The Killers and a bit like 90s Britpop bands.

With Lee waiting for the main event

Trampolene! Honestly! We sat at the back because gigs make me really anxious, but we still had a decent view from there and I went forward for a few songs. Gigs in pubs are excellent for me because they're often small enough for me to really enjoy myself and not get too anxious

The band sounds a bit too big for such a small space, though, their sound is much more stadium rock. I actually think they'll go really far 

Around 11pm, on the way home

And finally, here's Ivy sitting on my bum in bed! Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Two Meals Out

I had a busy beginning to the week at the end of April. On the Monday I went to work and then left a bit earlier than normal to go to Huddersfield to meet Sam. I still managed to get loads done at work so I was feeling pretty positive. I parked on the street right in the middle of Huddersfield, near the station, an area that has had a lot of money spent on it so it looks really nice and in the sunshine you could almost imagine you were abroad somewhere.

We went first of all to Ephesus, which is a Turkish restaurant that I've not been to before. We decided to just have starters because we were going to the dessert restaurant afterwards. We shared a hot mezze platter and some hummus and some tzatziki, and it was SO GOOD. I'll have to go there again and order some main dishes, because the menu was really tantalising. It is very nice inside, too, and I bet with loads of people in it would be full of atmosphere.

Next we went across the road to Icestone Gelato. We've been a few times but not recently, so we had kept saying we should go. Sam had some kind of sundae and I had banoffee cookie dough. I love cookie dough in a hot pan, I think everywhere should serve it.

Then we headed down to the Odeon to see Funny Cow. We both thought it was going to be a lot more lighthearted than it turned out to be, but it was really good. I love Maxine Peake, but it was not a Yorkshire accent she was doing which did bother me a bit. Still, I definitely enjoyed it.

Afterwards I came home. Lee moved home that evening and it was really lovely. Some time apart had helped us a lot but it came to the point where the bad of being apart was outweighing the good and we were just missing each other too much. That doesn't mean that things are mended between us or that everything is perfect, but it does mean we're on the right path towards being better. I have written a zine about our time apart, because it's me and everything makes more sense to me if I can write it down.

Here's my photos from Monday:

Hot mezze platter. The filo cheese parcels were my favourite

Banoffee cookie dough in Icestone

The following day I went to Leeds to meet Leanne and her new baby, who I'd not yet met. I suggested meeting at the Victoria Centre which I find really convenient and less anxiety inducing for me as the car park is right there and there's lifts into John Lewis. I suggested eating at Le Pain Quotidien because I really love it. Leanne was happy to go along with that so we met at 12.30 and went upstairs to the restaurant (there's a lift for prams/mobility reduced people/etc). It wasn't busy but the staff were really nice, and the food was as always excellent. I find it quite expensive so wouldn't want to go every week, but for a treat it's really nice. I had hot chocolate, which comes as hot milk in a bowl which you pour molten chocolate into. It was yummy! I had salmon and avocado tartine which was truly delicious. I've been eating a lot of smoked salmon recently. Lastly I had chocolate and pear cake which was vegan and SO GOOD. I also brought home half of a sourdough loaf for Lee, who is a big fan of bread. 

Hot chocolate

Salmon tartine (served on sourdough bread)

Chocolate and pear cake

It was a lovely couple of days but I definitely need to stay in for a bit now!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Makes and Bakes of April

I made quite a few things in April, because I was feeling quite positive about life and Lee and I were working things out after having such a turbulent March. We were making the time to make some new dishes and have fun in the kitchen.

This was salmon and avocado tacos. I kept seeing that Asda advert where a man makes them for a woman he's trying to woo, and I kept thinking "That does sound good", so I found the recipe. It was really nice - the avocado was really ripe and delicious - but we both agreed the salmon could have used a little extra kick to it. I guess we both like spicy food!

This was a spicy carrot and lentil soup and it was SO GOOD that I know we'll be making it again. It didn't take too long, either. I left it quite chunky so it was kind of like a dahl, really, but you could blend it smoother to make it more soup-like. We had it with naan bread to dip in and yoghurt dollopped on top. I had leftovers a couple of days later but I wished there was more

I've been doing a lot of crafting in 2018. I've been trying to make time for even a little bit each day. Mostly I've been working on some crochet projects, which are big so I can't share just yet, but I did make this blanket for my friend Leanne's new baby. I knew I wanted to crochet something for her, but wasn't sure what. Then I remembered this pack of wool which I had in the cupboard, which were all these pale tonal shades. They're not totally "baby" colours, but I thought they looked lovely anyway. I just did a simply granny square with a shell edge, but I tried to blend the colours too. It's nice, isn't it? Leanne loved it and hopefully baby April will make lots of use of it for years to come!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Thursday in the Sun

The middle of April saw some unseasonable warmth in my neck of the woods which was lovely. I suffer quite badly with SAD and have done for years, so sun really makes me feel so much better. I love having the windows open and loads of fresh air going through the house. Lee and I were still living apart at this point (I hope by the time you read this he'll be back home or we'll at least have a plan for him coming home), but he was around the house quite a bit working at home and stuff. On this particular Thursday, I'd been at work and he'd been working at ours.

When I got home, we didn't have much time before we went for our first couples counselling session. I am a big believer in the power of counselling, having had several lots of it throughout the course of my life. Lee and I both felt very strongly that we would benefit from couples counselling, so we had both looked for a counsellor and ended up going with S, who lives about 20 minutes drive from our house (a journey which was not too stressful for me at all). Anyway Lee was outside when I got home, and the cat was outside with him, sunbathing. He decided to cut the grass so I stayed outside to chat to him while he did that.

I've had my Thursday job for over six years, but I'm beginning to think that I need a new challenge and shouldn't be there anymore. I'm just a bit fed up of it. One of the communication problems between Lee and I is that we keep this kind of stuff to ourselves, so in the spirit of being open about things, I was telling him all about it. It really helped.

Then we set off to our session. It was very positive and we both really liked her. She said some really nice things - that our body language towards each other is very positive, and that we're both very self aware. It was really positive.

At home, we had decided to have a barbecue. I was feeling very much like making hay while the sun shines, so we pulled the barbecue out of the cellar. Lee had bought provisions and we sat on the grass eating breadsticks while the barbecue was getting ready. We had burgers and salad and hotdog sausages. Then we toasted marshmallows in the embers of the barbecue. It wasn't quite the same as toasting them in a campfire, but it came pretty close.

We didn't come back inside until the sun dipped behind the houses opposite us. It was such a lovely evening :)

Cutting the grass - I need some more plants in the planters, I'll get them soon

My new jelly shoes - I got them on eBay last year but haven't had chance to wear them yet

Lying on the grass with my book

Toasting marshmallows later in the evening