Monday, April 29, 2019

The Courtyard at Womersley - Review

For Mother's Day we took my mum and my grandma out for afternoon tea at The Courtyard in Womersley, just off the A1 near Pontefract. Full disclosure: the owner, Jacci, is a dear friend of my mum's, and we've been before but not for ages. But I'm signed up to the update emails, so when Jacci sent an email back in January advertising Mother's Day afternoon tea, I thought that sounded like a lovely idea.

It was available for £20 with prosecco or £16 without. I booked three with and two without since Lee doesn't drink and my stepdad's not into prosecco.

We arrived and found the place really busy, and our table all beautifully set with a tablecloth and gorgeous vintage china. We ordered drinks and were then presented with the starter - roasted cauliflower soup and parmesan crisp.

It was served in yet more pretty china and was just yummy. 

Then we got two stands of sandwiches. The meat eaters had ham and chutney, beef and mustard, prawn, salmon, egg, and cheese and chutney sandwiches. I had already told Jacci via email that Lee and I would like vegetarian sandwiches, so we got cheese and chutney, roasted pepper and hummus, roasted vegetable and pesto, cream cheese and cucumber, and cream cheese and watercress. The meat eaters got sausage rolls and we got veggie sausage rolls which was really unexpected but so nice!

We swapped about a bit so everyone could have what sandwiches they wanted, like Lee wanted a salmon one. There were plenty - we didn't eat them all!

These were the gorgeous place settings, I absolutely love the colour of this china. 

Sandwiches and sausage rolls

Next we got little mojito cheesecakes! They were really nice sharp lime, and the biscuit base had rum in it. Lee didn't like it so I had to eat his too, oh no. 

THEN the plates of cakes came out, and we had hot drinks to go with them. Look at all these homemade macarons! I didn't have a scone but there was jam and cream too. I had the mango macaron and then brought the strawberry one home which was also yummy. 

This plate were slices of chocolate torte and lemon meringue buns. I didn't have a bun but brought home a slice of cake, which was really delicious later on.

We'd all had plenty to eat and had had a really lovely time. I think it's well worth the price tag for a special occasion!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

What I Wore March 29th

At the end of March I went to Meadowhall to meet up with my friend Sarah for lunch. I also needed to buy a ton of things, so she and I walked a really long way getting stuff. I got myself some new leggings and a mustard top from Yours, which I'm looking forward to wearing soon. I also got a bunch of things needed for our vow renewal. Then Sarah and I went to the Handmade Burger Co for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to see their veggie and vegan options - I was spoilt for choice! I went for the goats' cheese stack in the end, which had a round of goats' cheese, a big mushroom, and grilled peppers in it. It was really nice. Sarah and I shared some chips and some onion rings.

I pulled this dress out to wear. It was from New Look years ago, but I don't wear it very much. I'm not sure why because I really like it on, but it feels quite fancy and sometimes I just don't need to be that fancy. It's also weird because I never look at New Look for clothes anymore. They used to do really fun stuff but the sizing all went to pieces and now I don't bother anymore. But I do still love this dress. I love the colour and I love the sheer sleeves and the bows on them. I'll try to wear this again soon!

My leggings are from Yours, I had to buy some new ones because these have got a hole in on the knee, and my bag was from Accessorize.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Snag Tights Review

I'm sure you can't have failed to hear about Snag Tights, if you're like me you'll have seen their adverts all over Instagram. They promise to fit better than normal tights, up to a size 36. I never have much luck with tights, I used to like Big Bloomers ones but they're so thin that my fingers go through them really easily. Snag Tights have thicker ones, so I was intrigued. I still wasn't sure they'd fit, but Lolly said they fit her so I thought that was enough for me to try them!

I ordered a 50 denier pair of black ones, an 80 denier pair of black ones, and some with a wave pattern in them. Snag Tights have a sliding pricing thing, so three pairs cost me just over £20 including shipping. That's not TOO bad. I ordered them all in a size G, the biggest size.

I wore the first pair, the 50 denier ones, when I went to see Les Mis. I was impressed - they're thin enough that I felt like I wasn't wearing anything at all, which was quite a weird sensation, but thick enough that they didn't ladder. The sizing was perfect, they came up pleasingly high on my stomach, didn't roll, didn't fall down, and came right up between my thighs. I didn't get a photo because I'm an idiot, but I was really impressed - I kept telling Sam and Steph and my mum how impressed I was!

I took the wavy ones on holiday with me and wore them with my Scarlett and Jo dress to go out in. I wasn't quite as impressed - they did fit me and they look nice, so I wouldn't complain too much, but they didn't come up as far on my stomach and as I was walking they kept sliding down. But it was worth it for the funky pattern, and I'm guessing on most people they would be absolutely fine.

I will definitely buy more tights from Snag Tights - I've got my eye on some of the coloured ones! I'm impressed for sure! They're the best plus size tights I've come across so far.

I also bought these shoes from TKMaxx for £3 in the sale! They're really cute and comfortable.

Monday, April 22, 2019

What I Wore March 21st

During the day on our second day in Shropshire I was wearing this. It's an outfit I really like but it needs the weather to be decent because it's not very warm. I bought both these pieces off Lolly ages ago. The top is from Hell Bunny I think, and the skirt is by Interrobang Art. It has a glasses pattern on it, although you can't see it very well. I always wear these two together, they just fit!

In the evening I had packed this Scarlett & Jo dress. It's not one of my favourites because although I love the skirt, the top is a funny shape on me and seems to show off more of my bra and boobs than I'd really like it to. I keep saying that I'll cut the top off and just wear it as a skirt, which I'm planning to do with another S&J dress where the top had gone bobbly. I haven't got around to it yet but I will! Sometime!

I do love this dress because it has pockets!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Trip to Shropshire - Day 2

On our second day in Shropshire we again had bagels for breakfast and then set off to Oswestry, north of where we were staying. We parked and had a bit of a wander round. Oswestry has some really nice shops, including a gorgeous bookshop and cafe that I wish I had had more time to wander around! I bought one book but their YA section was great, I was really impressed with it. I also managed to find shoes for me for our vow renewal, which has been on my mind because I bought a pair but they didn't fit and I couldn't find anything better. I'll show what I bought after the renewal!

We then drove to Ellesmere which has a big lake, to have our lunch. We sat at a picnic table and had all kinds of bits, it was great. We fed some lettuce to the ducks and had a little walk. Then we drove to Whittington Castle, which isn't huge but which was quite nice to look at, and we had afternoon tea there.

Again we got back to the cottage around 4pm and I got into my pyjamas for a bit before we went out to Meze Greek restaurant in Ellesmere. It's highly rated and we liked it, although service was quite slow. I had spanokopita and then halloumi kebabs which were really good. We didn't have dessert but went back and watched another film before bed.

I wish we had had longer in Shropshire but as it was we had to leave the next day. It was nice for all three of us to get away, though. Sam and I drove home in yet more sunshine, and although I was absolutely exhausted when I got home I had had a lovely time.

Von and Sam at Ellesmere Lake


And ducks!

I like them

Especially ducks

Whittington Castle

Decaf coffee and Victoria sponge with raspberry jam - both so good!


Halloumi souvlaki with pitta, salad, and chips!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Trip to Shropshire - Day 1

On the first day of our holiday in Shropshire, my friends and I got up and had bagels for breakfast. So delicious! We got ready and headed down to Ironbridge, about half an hour away from where we were staying, to see the iron bridge there.

There's a ton of museums there and we'd read a leaflet about them in the cottage, so we went to the Ironbridge toll house to begin with and parked on that side of the bridge. We went into the toll house then walked over the bridge in the bright sunshine. It was absolutely gorgeous, none of us had long sleeves on. The bridge is fantastic and how they put it up is so fascinating. We got ice creams and sat in the sunshine eating them. Then we went into a few of the little shops there, which were nice.

We then went to Enginuity museum, it's a science museum and it's really for kids, but three 30 somethings managed to have a good time too! We looked at all the exhibits and had fun making an arch bridge and making a water system and answering quizzes. I liked it, but it's quite expensive for what it is.

Finally we stopped in Shrewsbury on the way back for more (wine) supplies and did a bit of shopping. I bought myself a new mustard cardigan which I hope I get chance to wear soon! It was about 4pm when we got back, so we all got into our pyjamas and settled down to watch films and drink wine. Relaxing on holiday is important too!

This very friendly cat was one of the feral ones where we were staying

The book I started! Review on my book blog if you look back

A scale model of the bridge in the toll house

And the original toll!

View up river

And down river

The centre point

The bridge

Ice cream!

From further down

Von and me

Me and Sam

From the other side

I love steam engines

This is in Enginuity now

Very proud of their arch bridge

Making the water system work!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Cafe Mandalay Huddersfield

Last month I went away for a a few days with some friends, my BFFs Sam and Von. We went to Shropshire as none of us had ever been. I picked Sam up in Huddersfield and we went to do shopping in Sainsbury's for all three of us, and then we had lunch at Cafe Mandalay. She's been wanting to try it for a while and we had plenty of time, so we went for just when it was opening at noon.

It is Yorkshire's first Burmese restaurant, and it is absolutely delicious! It doesn't have lots of seats downstairs, but has more seating upstairs I think. The menu choice isn't huge, but there's a few veggie and vegan options and stuff that the menu said could be made vegan. I went for a lunch special of chickpea masala palata which came with a deliciously sharp coleslaw and fries. Sam got some kind of chicken noodle, I'm not sure exactly what. We shared some tofu fries which were SO good and some jasmine rice. Sam had a Burmese tea and I went for apple and elderflower juice. I thought prices were really reasonable.

The food itself was so good! Nicely spiced but not too hot, really interesting textures and flavours. I would eat it all again, I will have to go back and take Lee!

Masala palata, the palata is the bread type thing

Tofu fries, I would love these every day of my life

Sam's dish and also the jasmine rice

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Organising A Clothes Swap

I thought I would write a post about organising a clothes swap. As you may know, the swaps I organise were first started in Leeds by Kirsty and Emily, way back in 2011. When Kirsty moved away for a bit I took over organising swaps in Leeds and Sheffield. Kirsty and Emily are now running them in Leeds again, although I haven't managed to get to one yet, and I've carried on doing Sheffield ones. I'm not sure how many I've organised now, but probably around ten? So I've got some experience and some pointers, and I thought I'd write a post.

So, you want to run a clothes swap? Well first of all, choose a venue. It's hard to find venues for free, but try to find it at least low cost so you're not stuck footing the bill if not many people turn up. I would also say that the place really should be accessible for anyone using a wheelchair. It's a bonus if it's a venue that sells drinks and food, too, and can be mutually beneficial for them to host you because they make money off people buying food. If you can't find anywhere ask around and go ask owners, I've found that a lot of places are more than happy to host something on a Saturday afternoon. Make sure the venue has tables and chairs for you to use and that the space is well lit as we've found that makes a difference.

Choose your date and time. I find that a noon start is perfect, and usually finish up around 4pm. I would say to ask some friends for help to help you set up and tidy up at the end, it ends up being a lot for one or even two people to do. Around four or five people should be fine.

Choose an entrance fee, I would say you should keep it as low as possible. I usually say £2 but also say I'm open to donations. I also say that if anyone can't pay that doesn't mean they're excluded. I used to be a lot more concerned about the entrance fee, but I don't think people should have to disclose to me that they're on a low income or something similar, so I usually now leave the cup by the door and leave it so people can put money in or not. I usually just say loudly "There's a cup by the door for the entrance fee by the way" a couple of times and otherwise let it be, I don't police it.

Draw a poster with all your details on and circulate it online. If you'd ever like me to share a poster, leave a comment on my blog or @ me on twitter, my username is @cheaprhyme. I do like to support other swaps and try to come if it's close by. The poster doesn't have to be anything fancy, literally just words will do. Do a Facebook event and ask friends to share the details, especially if they're bloggers with many more followers. Make sure that you detail what sizes people can bring - we say from a size 16 or an L. I usually say people can bring accessories too. We also say that we welcome all genders of people, the swaps are not limited to women and honestly if you want it to be radical and welcoming you should do the same.

Try to put your posters up somewhere too, especially in the venue itself. I'd say do this at least six weeks before the swap. Promote online wherever you can!

On the day, make sure you have some change to put in the cup to start people off. Also buy a roll of black bin bags because you will need them! We always split the swaps not by size, which are arbitrary anyway, but by type of clothing. So we'll have one table for bottoms eg skirts, trousers, leggings, one for tops, one for dresses. We usually put shoes on the floor and accessories all together too. It depends on space! I've also been to swaps where someone has brought a full length mirror and this can be really helpful.

I don't have a policy of "bring one item/take one item" because a) it requires much more policing than I can be bothered with and b) there always ends up being SO much left over anyway. Let people take what they want or need to take! It works out fine, I promise. I would say get into there, pick out everything you like the look of and keep hold of it. Try it on - I'm a big proponent of trying on everything even if it's not technically "your" size - sizing changes so much and something may look fantastic on you even if it's really not your size. If you don't like something, put it back on the pile, and if you get home and find it doesn't work, bring it back next time!

Enjoy yourself! I used to feel a bit removed from the swap since I was in charge of it, but recently I've been trying to get stuck in and look at everything. It helps me to have Lee there, who basically sits around chatting to people.

At the end of the swap me and my helpers pack everything up into black bags. Decide beforehand what you're going to do with the leftovers - you could store them to bring to the next swap, but we've taken to taking them to the Mind shop on London Road in Sheffield, so we put all the stuff in the car and unload there. You will have stuff leftover so a friend with a car if you don't have one will come in very handy!

Pay the venue, leave it tidy, say thank you - all of that means that they're more likely to agree to have you back!

Finally, we always make sure to go somewhere yummy to eat after a swap, which is a huge destress for me and a fun chance to hang out more! Do you have any questions?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Matilda in Bradford

In March Sam and Jacqui and I went to see Matilda the Musical in Bradford. Jac bought the tickets for us for Christmas, which was really nice and gave us something to look forward to.

We met up for tea at 5pm, we went to My Lahore which is at the top of the street near the theatre. It's British Asian fast food, it's cheap and really delicious and just what you need right before the theatre! We had plenty of time so ended up having three courses and a jug of mango lassi which is really yummy. I had potato paratha, which I don't think I've had before, and paneer and spinach curry with pilau rice. Then I had chocolate fudge cake!

We walked down to the theatre and easily got our seats. We were only in the second row so the view was fantastic and the seats really comfortable. I wasn't sure what I was expecting from the show itself but it was GREAT.

The kids were all really good, no one was a step out of place and they all sounded amazing. It was really funny and the music was really good too. The costumes and staging especially were really good. I'd thoroughly recommend it if you like musicals.

I had put this Scarlett & Jo dress on, I haven't worn it in a while but it's one of my favourite dresses. It's comfortable but looks fab. Sorry for the photo - I got Lee to take it when I got home and didn't realise my cardigan was all over the place!

In our seats

Before the show started

Scarlett & Jo prom dress from a few years ago. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

What I Wore 7th March and Meeting Angie Thomas

On 7th March Lee and I went to Bradford to see Angie Thomas, the author. She was on tour from the US and tickets sold out super fast, but I was lucky enough to get two so we set off in plenty of time and then queued outside Waterstones until 6.30. Bradford Waterstones is in the old Wool Exchange building and it is utterly beautiful - I'd love to go back and browse for a while.

Angie was in conversation with a black poet called Sophia, and she talked really passionately about the place her books come from, their political standing within the world, the impact they've had, how they've been censored, and so on. I heartily recommend both her books. The Hate U Give is about a kid who witnesses a cop shoot her friend and who has to then go to court. On the Come Up is about a girl who wants to be a rap star but who is misunderstood by her neighbourhood. They are both fantastic books and excellent for young readers.

After the talk and a question and answer session Angie signed her books, and it was truly an honour to meet her.

Then Lee and I went to Zizzi for food as we had set off before tea. It was getting late but the staff were lovely. I had a goats cheese, onion, and pine nut pizza and Lee just had margherita. Then he had chocolate melt pudding and I had a chocolate and salted caramel brownie which was utterly delicious. It was late when we got home but worth it!

I had pulled on this red Scarlett & Jo dress with hearts on. I have the purple one and Lolly brought this to the last clothes swap so I snaffled it. It's a size smaller than I'd usually wear and I can maybe tell because the waistband comes to just under my boobs, but I think it looks fine and I liked wearing it. I love the red colour!

Red dress, black cardigan from H&M a million years ago

Inside the Wool Exchange

Sophia and Angie

Sophia performed one of her poems which was really good

Angie and me and Lee. She's so lovely!

Strawberry and cucumber cooler in Zizzi


And my very delicious brownie