Thursday, February 28, 2019

My 35th Birthday

I cannot BELIEVE that January 2019 saw me turn thirty five! Thirty five! That's like an actual adult age, and I am definitely not one of those. I can't believe it's six years since I started this blog and posted my first birthday post.

I always like to plan my birthdays and do fun things, and I thought that this year I would like to go to the Alchemist in Trinity in Leeds and have food and drink cocktails. I invited my mum and stepdad and my best friends Sam and Jacqui, and then it turned out my friend Lucinda was free to come too. She's been studying in Canada so I hadn't see her since Christmas 2016. She's been back in the UK since July but our schedules hadn't fitted, and then it turned out she wasn't working on my birthday so I said to come up. So she arrived on Friday night and on Saturday morning she perched on the end of mine and Lee's bed as I opened birthday cards. Perfect! I love her.

We set off for Leeds, picked up my mum and stepdad, and parked, then headed over. Sam and Jacqui were already there. The Alchemist was busy so we ended up sitting outside which was quite cold, but fortunately we weren't waiting too long and we did have a nice drink while we were waiting.

I had promised myself that if there was nothing vegetarian on the menu I would eat something with meat in, but I was surprised and pleased by both the veggie and vegan options on offer. Lee had the seitan chicken wings and then the veggie burger, which is made with beetroot and mushroom and was really succulent and nice. I had halloumi bites and then the cauliflower katsu curry which were both really good. Everyone seemed to like their food and the fajita portions were really generous!

And of course the cocktails. That's the main reason I wanted to go to the Alchemist really! To begin with I had The Colour Changing One which is sweet and yummy, and then I had a Screwball which was bubblegum and really nice. Everyone had different ones and we all kept trying each others.

After the Alchemist we headed upstairs to Angelica's which was also packed - honestly it was just a random January Saturday - but we weren't waiting too long for a table. I had a champagne and elderflower cocktail in there which was lovely.

Jacqui left after that, while the rest of us went to Giraffe for a drink there. Then we tried to get into the Botanist but that was super busy too so we ended up over the road in a bar called Cast Iron which was part of the Marriott Hotel and which was actually really nice. In there I had a pint of cocktail which was potent and came set on fire! Ridiculous.

We headed home not much after that, but had one more drink at my mum's before coming home. I got some lovely presents including books, candles, skincare, champagne (yes more!), a rag rugging kit... Really lovely things :) I'm very lucky and I certainly felt it when everyone came to celebrate with me.

Here's about a zillion photos:

I love it when Twitter has the birthday balloons!

It was Photo An Hour hence my post shower selfie

An hour later, dressed with make up on!

My mum and Sam outside the Alchemist

The colour changing cocktail comes as purple....

The you add the rest and it goes pink....

A birthday kiss from Jac

When we sat down inside I made everyone take selfies, unfortunately this picture of me and Lee is blurred :( 

Me and Sam

Sam and Jac

Sam and Jac and Lucinda

Lucinda and my mum

My mum and stepdad 

Halloumi bites

Cauliflower steak katsu curry with rice and crispy kale

Screwball cocktail

My mum had this bubbly cocktail which she really liked!

Champagne cocktail in Angelica's

Strawberry daiquiri in Giraffe

We all shared some churros in Giraffe too!

Lucinda and Sam and me in Cast Iron

My flaming Zombie cocktail

Me and Lucinda on the way home

Lucinda had snuck into Tesco to buy me a cake which was lovely of her!

Lastly here are all the books I got! I'm very excited for these.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Weekend in January

My friend Von came to stay the second weekend in January. I haven't seen her since last February, due to personal circumstances in both our lives, so it was lovely when she suggested coming for the weekend. She was on her way back from a training thing in Cumbria which is a long way back to London! So she arrived on the Friday night and we had pizza and salad for tea.

My gym has given me a free day pass every month for a guest, so I'd mentioned this to Von so she brought her swimming costume. So on Saturday Lee and Von and I headed to the gym and had brunch - I was impressed because they had vegetarian sausages! Then we got changed and went into the pool area.

We swam, went in the jacuzzi, the steam room, the sauna, and the aromatherapy room. Then we did that all over again, and again, and finally got out after about three hours! It was really nice and really relaxing.

Then we headed into town because Von and I were going to get new ear piercings. I have three holes in the lobe of each ear, two helix piercings, and I had the conch of my right ear pierced in Barnsley ten years ago, with Von then too. I'd recently been thinking I might get the left one done, so I mentioned it to her and we went to Pro Body Piercing on Graham's Orchard again. The piercer in there is nice enough and really good at his job. I went first, I'd barely had chance to think about it before he'd done it! It hurt less than I remember although maybe I'm just used to tattoos now. Von went second, she had her rook pierced (which I love the look of, but I don't have enough rook to pierce!). Because we'd had two he charged us £30 instead of £20 each!

I love having a matching piercing, it is a bit sore still but it'll get there I'm sure. It's quite an unusual one and I really love it :)

On Saturday evening we got Chinese takeaway from a new-to-us place and it was nice, they did tofu so that's what I had.

On Sunday we went to Cubley Hall in Penistone for lunch with Sam so she and Von could see each other. It was a bit more difficult to eat vegetarian there, there weren't too many choices. Lee and I both had pizza and then shared chips and onion rings, but there was so much food that we ended up bringing most of the pizza home! Still, I would have liked to see more options on their menu.

Von set off home just after lunch but it was really lovely to see her!

See the piercing right in the middle of my ear? That's the conch one

Lucinda sent me a picture of her and her friend so I sent this of me and Von back

We watched Star Wars on Saturday evening and Ivy deigned to go sit on Von

Fresh, humongous onion rings are so good at Cubley Hall!

My pizza was goats cheese and black olive, it was a little odd but I liked it!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Trip to Hornsea

The first weekend of the year saw Lee and I head to the coast for the day. I had that feeling of needing to blow the cobwebs away, I often get it at the beginning of the year after the Christmas period. So I decided we'd go to Hornsea. We've never been and I knew it would be windswept and desolate, and it was - perfect!

We drove over and arrived about lunchtime so looked for somewhere to eat. We happened upon a cafe - a proper greasy spoon - that was doing vegetarian breakfasts, so we went in there. It was fab, we also had chips which were old style chip pan one, they were great!

After brunch we wandered for a bit on the seafront, and went in a couple of arcades. Then we headed inland and went into a couple of shops. Then we drove up to Withernsea, where we have been but not like like nearly two decades. We stood on the seafront for a bit then got ice creams and ate them before setting off back home. It was a lovely few hours out of the house and just what I needed.

Hornsea beach

Lee and I 

Further up the beach

I liked this so much I made it my profile picture on Facebook

The very Eastern end of the Trans Penning trail!


I love old posters like these, I often take photos of them

I think in the summer you could use this to wash sand off your feet/shoes


Withernsea lighthouse

And finally ice creams. Ridiculous in five degrees!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Trip to Make No Bones

Lee and I decided to go vegetarian in January. I was looking for a challenge and after my trip to the Tea Hive decided that we would give it a go. I've never done anything like it before, although we do often eat veggie stuff as Lee only eats chicken and turkey. But me, I eat a lot of things, so I thought it would be a real challenge. As it goes, I'm writing this near the end of January and I have to say that I don't miss meat in the way I thought I would. There's a few things I want to eat, like smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel, but over all... I think going forward we will eat vegetarian the vast majority of the time. I'm really glad we undertook the challenge!

I'm also really glad that there are so many more veggie options these days. In Barnsley where we live, there isn't a dedicated veggie or vegan cafe, which means it isn't as easy to eat out here as it would be in a bigger city. But fortunately for us, Sheffield isn't far away, and it has tons of options. I had arranged to meet up with my friend Philippa at the beginning of January at the new Make No Bones, which is all vegan.

We've been before, it used to be in a tiny cafe way down in Meersbrook so I was happy it was moving to more of a central location closer to my house. It's now in Temple of Fun and there's quite a few tables downstairs and lots upstairs too. It was quite busy for a Thursday in January though! I also saw a couple of people Lee knows while there.

I had the avocado wings which are crispy and warm and delicious. I nearly had a burger, but then decided to get the fries topped with pulled "pork". It was the most meatlike substitute I've ever eaten - I'm not exactly sure what it was but if you'd told me it was meat I'd have believe you. These were delicious too. I also had a Fentiman's rose lemonade, which is one of my favourites.

Lots of chillis which I really like!

Avocado wings with sour "cream" and sriracha 

Some of the artwork in our booth

I wore this Scarlett & Jo skirt which I'd worn just before Christmas, it's really warm which I find useful in the winter, and this navy t-shirt from Yours. I had bought myself this very cute crochet pin badge so I put that on too; I did have a jumper on to travel as it was cold, I promise! I never feature outerwear here but most of the time I wear either a hoodie or a thick jumper. Sometimes a scarf and gloves!

On my way to Sheffield I had gone to Meadowhall as I was trying to return something to Yours Clothing (the assistants in the shop were SO RUDE). I popped into the Yankee shop there and into Paperchase. I'm one of those people who buys Christmas cards and wrapping in the sales, so I got lots of that (we ran out in 2018 and had to buy more...) and a couple more bits. I love sales shopping!

I bought myself a Yankee advent calendar which was just £12 in the sale and will keep me going for ages

I also got each of these votives. Red Apple Wreath is one of my favourites

Stationery spoils!