Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Films of the Month - May

I watched quite a lot of films in May, partly because there were a lot I wanted to watch, and partly because I got into the habit of watching a film each week with my friend Sam, which was nice. We mostly used Netflix Party to have a chat while we were watching it. It was very companionable and ideal while in lockdown.

Here's what I watched:

Lee and I watched Ocean's 8, which I think is brilliant. I love a crime caper and an all female one is so amazing

I watched Echo in the Canyon which is a documentary about the musicians living near LA in the 60s, like Bob Dylan and the Mamas and Papas. I really enjoyed it, I would recommend it

Sam and I watched Liam: As It Was, a documentary about Liam's life post-Oasis. We both liked it - he is pretty funny and engaging throughout and it's nice to see him with his mam and ALL his kids (including Molly Moorish). I'd recommend it if you're even just a casual fan like me

I wanted to see Miss Congeniality 2 as I'd never seen it and I like the first too much, but I thought it was just rubbish unfortunately

A Secret Love is a Netflix documentary about two women who were together for years, but who weren't out to their families. It's a lot about love and family and also about getting older and what that entails. It's really good, watch it

I watched this, about the events of Bloody Sunday in Ireland, and I - well, I won't say liked it - but it is good

Lee and I watched Terminator 2, which for my money is better than the first film. 

Sam and I watched My Neighbour Totoro which neither of us had ever seen. We both really liked it

I don't quite know why Netflix recommended Book Club to me, but I watched it and thought it was quite fun. A bit of Monday escapism. The cast is all great

I watched The Half of It on a Netflix Party with some friends and liked it, it's a cute teen movie and I'd recommend it if that's your thing

I've been meaning to watch The Lion King (the original cartoon one) for absolutely ages. I've only seen it once, way back when it first came out when I was TEN! It's alright, I suppose. Not my favourite Disney

I haven't ever seen the film of Brideshead Revisited, although I have of course seen the 1980s TV series and I loved the book when I read it twenty years ago. I quite liked it, Matthew Goode is great, but I can't ever quite warm to Ben Whishaw. Still, I'm glad I saw it, and I do love the story

Sam and I watched Weekend together, which is about two men who hook up on a Friday night and fall in love over the weekend. I didn't love it, it left me a bit cold, but it was interesting enough to watch

Lee wanted to see Dunkirk as he hasn't seen it. I love it, I find it stressful to watch, thanks to the truly unnerving soundtrack. It looks amazing

I finally watched Napoleon Dynamite, which I'd never seen. I thought it was okay, I feel like I missed out culturally way back in 2004 so at least I've put it right now!

A few people had recommended Crip Camp on Twitter and it's on Netflix so I thought why not. It's about a camp for teens with disabilities and the ensuing fight for the rights of disabled people in America in the years that followed. It's REALLY good, definitely watch it

Finally, Sam and I watched The Social Network which she'd never seen. I have, and I like it because I like Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. Sam thought it was quite ridiculous, which it is! I have such a soft spot for it, though

Friday, June 26, 2020

Baking Soda Bread

I have, like everyone else, been baking more while in lockdown. Mostly cakes and stuff, but I've been seeing everyone else baking bread and wanted to join in. I really want to make some sourdough or focaccia, but we haven't been able to find yeast ANYWHERE since before lockdown. Then I saw a few people making soda bread, which doesn't use yeast, and thought that sounded perfect.

We couldn't find buttermilk but the recipe we used said that if you couldn't find it, you could sour whole milk with lemon juice. That's what we did, and I think it worked fine. The other ingredients are plain flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda. You simply sieve the flour, salt, and bicarb, and then pour in the milk. Stir until it's a sticky dough. Put it on a flour dusted baking tray and then cut a very deep cross into the dough. This helps the heat penetrate right to the middle of the dough, to cook it through at the same rate that the outside cooks. We dusted some flour on top, too.

We baked it on gas mark 4 for 30 minutes. That seriously seemed to be all it needed - it came out looking well. We left it to cool for a few minutes then sliced off a small slice to taste and share. It's quite salty - I think next time I would put less salt in. The texture is quite cakey and doughy, I think it would be really nice with jam spread on top!

We used this recipe here, it's good.

Pouring the soured milk into the flour and other dry ingredients

The dough all ready on the tray, but before we cut the cross

And this is after baking! Doesn't it look lovely? The cross lets the dough stretch

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Trip Out to Dunford Bridge

On the last Saturday in May Lee and I went out for a drive and then a walk, as we had done the previous Bank Holiday Monday. The weather was still beautiful and I was desperate for some sunshine. I was going a bit loopy having to be in the house all the time, as I'm sure we all were. I decided we would go to Dunford Bridge, which is between here and Manchester and where I've been before, a long time ago, way back in 2013. Lee couldn't remember it at all, but once we got there he was like ohhhh yes I've been here before.

There were a lot of people there, but mostly setting off walking or cycling down the trail. There's a few picnic tables and there were people sitting around some of them, but we could sit far enough away to still be social distancing from people (something which I think we'll be doing for quite a few months yet!). We had stopped in Penistone to buy lunch, but there weren't any ready made sandwiches so Lee had bought a container of egg mayo and some bread to make our own sandwiches. The sun was shining and it was so lovely to just sit there for a while. We walked down the trail a bit, then came home. I sat in the garden for a little bit longer catching some sun, before finally admitting that I had things to do and couldn't just sit around in the sun all day. It was a nice little trip out, though!

Here's my photos:

Looking down on one of the reservoirs - look at those beautiful moors


It was the first outing of my Saltwater sandals this summer! I love them so much, still. I think I might buy another pair. I wrote a review of them here last summer.

It was quite windy and this is what my hair looked like when I got back in the car!

Back at home we had an ice cream in the front garden

And here's what I was wearing. The skirt is Scarlett & Jo and is quite thick and warm, actually, but it was fine. The top is from Yours and is greener than it looks in this photo. It's comfortable to wear!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Scentful Wax Review

Back in March I reviewed Wax Crumbles from a company called Wax Addict, in a post here. I've been really enjoying using the crumbles in my wax warmer. Most of the fragrances are new to me and I've liked them. Now that the weather is so warm I do still like to burn a candle or have the wax warmer going, but I find myself wanting fresher scents.

I saw an ad on Instagram for Scentful Wax and liked the aesthetic on the page so went to look. They make hand poured wax melts, in bars that are five by two, and you snap off two bits to melt at a time. They say that two squares will last for around 12 hours, which is a whole lot of burning!

If I signed up to the newsletter I got 10% off my first order, so I did that. They sell selection boxes which are themed and which are £19.99 and which contain eight bars. This seems comparable to the Wax Addicts box I bought previously. Postage is free over £20 so I decided to add two bars, one in Pear Drops and the other in Flower Explosion (which is a dupe for a well known perfume that I love).

I placed my order on Sunday, and received the good on Friday. With a bank holiday on the Monday too, that really meant they got to me quickly! They came in a flat parcel, meaning they went through the letterbox without the postman needing to knock, which is good if you're often out of the house.

I was impressed with the packaging and the cute thank you note. Plus a loyalty card! That's good. The bars themselves are just gorgeous. They are different colours and have different glitter in them. Plus the scents are just beautiful! In my selection box were: Marshmallow Fluff, Snow Queen (a dupe for Lush's Snow Fairy, which I LOVE), Baby Powder, Cotton Fresh, Blueberry & Vanilla, Pink Fizz & Lemonade, Pink Opium, and Peony Blush. The other two in the box are the ones I mentioned above that I chose separately. All of the bars have an amazing scent, I couldn't wait to melt some!

I decided to go for Cotton Fresh to start off with, which is a fresh, laundry powder kind of scent. It seemed ideal for a bright sunny day. As the squares melted they released their glitter, but also had swirls of shimmer in them, like you get in cocktails sometimes. This made the wax burner look really lovely, which I like.

And the scent! It had such a lovely clean and fresh scent, and it threw a long way which I'm a fan of. I had it melting for about four hours to start off with, and the scent lingered most of the day afterwards.

I was not paid for this review and did not receive anything in compensation for it. I just wanted to share my thoughts on a company that is new to me!

Cute cards at the top of the parcel

All the wax bars. They're all soy wax, I think. They come packaged in cellulose wrappers, instead of plastic, which is biodegradable I believe. Look at these gorgeous colours!

Here are the scents

Just starting to melt - this is a pale green wax to begin with

And as it melts, it releases a ton of shimmer and the glitter you can see. It's so pretty!

I'm definitely going to buy from Scentful Wax again, and I'll definitely share some of these gorgeous bars with my mum who also loves candles and wax.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Underbank Reservoir

On Bank Holiday Monday Lee and I had a nice trip out. The weather was really sunny and Lee wasn't working, obviously, so we decided to go to the supermarket first of all and then go somewhere for some fresh air and sunshine. We went to the Tesco in Penistone, it's a medium sized supermarket which is ideal for us. The queue wasn't too long, but it was still only one person per household so I sat in the car while Lee went in. He was around 40 minutes, and I had my book with me so I just sat reading.

We then headed to Midhopestones which is a village we pass through if we're on the way to Hathersage lido. (Oh how I so wish we'd been heading there - my body misses swimming!) I knew there was a reservoir just off the main road, so we drove there and parked in a layby. There was a gate on to the land, and then just a small walk through the trees to the side of the reservoir. There were a few other people there but everyone was making sure to keep a safe distance apart. We had a bag of lunch and our camping chairs to sit down.

It was absolutely marvellous. The sun was sparkling off the water and it was so calm and beautiful. It feels like a really long time since I've been near water in that fashion and I really needed it. It was just perfect. We sat and ate our lunch in the sunshine. Lee doesn't deal well with sun so after that he was too hot, so he moved backwards into the shade. I took my shoes off and felt the earth beneath them.

We considered walking along by the very edge of the reservoir on the little beach bit, but I desperately wanted to paddle but it's really rocky and I didn't have my water shoes with me. Plus we had cold stuff in the car and didn't want to be too much longer. So we just drove home, but it had been a lovely lunch trip out, and much needed.

When we got home we had an ice cream each.

Beautiful panorama I took just as we arrived

The view across the reservoir - there were people on the other side picnicking too

These trees were so tall and so shady and beautiful. They were like the kind you get on campsites in France!

Look at the beautiful sky. I tipped my head back and tried to just be in the sunshine for a bit

Looking left

Looking right

And here's me and Lee

And finally, I ate my ice cream sitting on the bottom step looking out of the back door

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Luna Lapin

I recently completed this handmade rabbit and wanted to show her off a bit. She is called Luna Lapin and there's a whole community around making her! I first saw her last year when someone at my craft club brought her to make at craft club, and then someone else did too. My grandma gave me some money for my birthday back in January and I thought, oh I'm going to buy myself a Luna kit. My grandma likes it when you spend the money on "something" and can tell her about it. So I was determined to buy it.

The shop that makes Luna is called Cool Crafting and it's located in Kendal in Cumbria. Lynne, one of the people who made Luna at craft club, had been to the shop early in the year to buy her kit. I looked online, but didn't fully understand what I needed to buy to make Luna and also have the book where her friends are involved too. Then I thought maybe I'd like to go to the shop, so Lee and I made plans to do that at the end of March. Ha, that worked out well, didn't it? Lockdown happened, meaning we weren't going anywhere!

I rang the shop to ask. The maker of Luna, Sarah Peel, owns the shop. It was around the 24th of March aned she was quite busy but really helpful. She explained to me that I should buy the Luna & Friends book as it's got the patterns for Luna and all her friends, (no surprise there, and I liked the look of her cat friend Clementine), and then the "remake" kit for Luna which includes everything you need for her, down to needles, thread, and wool for her pom pom tail. I placed the order and everything arrived only a few days later, lovingly packaged by Sarah. She had signed the book for me too, which was nice.

I looked at the patterns, the kit, the instructions, and just thought, oh nope, I don't understand that. I got Lee to help me. We traced the pattern on to tissue paper, then used those to cut out the felt. It was fine actually, just a bit daunting! I used an air soluble pen to make marks on the cut out bits.

I started with the ears. They're partly felt and partly a ditsy print. You have to sew them then turn them inside out which I found quite easy to do. Then you're supposed to press them. Now Lee and I don't actually own an ironing board. We have an iron but rarely use it. But I bought a tabletop ironing board for about £12 and it arrived quickly. It's really good! I pressed the ears and then sewed them into the head. That was the most complicated part. I had to talk it through with my mum to make sure I understood it right. They can be sewn with a machine, which I of course own now!

Everything else is hand sewn. I quite like hand sewing, I found it quite calming and meditative. Most of it is oversewn so that the seams sew on the outside. I did the legs and sewed them into the body, and posted a photo on Instagram. It turned out I'd done them wrong! I got one comment that was quite nice, just telling me, but then two comments that were really rude and sarcastic. Why?! I undid the legs and did them again, yay I got them the right way round this time!

Everything came together quite quickly after that. I finished her off one afternoon while video chatting to my friend Sarah. You attach her arms by sewing the buttons through from one side to the other, sewing both on at once. It was quite fun! I had already sewn her eyes on, but done them wrong, so I did them again.

And then she's done! She isn't perfect - some of my stitches are really wonky, and her head isn't as stuffed as I would really like it to be. She's quite thin faced! But she's lovely! I really like her. I'm now looking forward to making some clothes for her. I think I'll start with some knickers to make her decent! I've also bought black and white felt to make Clementine!

Cutting out the pieces

Ironing her ears

Look at the cute little ironing board!

Her ears all done

And the other side. My mum is a seamstress so she was really interested in my progress and now says she's very proud! 

Once I got the ears sewn into the head

The other side. Here's where I should have put more stuffing in, but I didn't know that

One little foot, done!

The whole leg

This is where she was wrong - her legs should be at the front of her body with her feet facing forwards, not at the back like they are here. But it was easily undone

Here she is with her legs on the proper side of her body!

Now she has a head!

One little arm sewn, with thumb

And here she is all put together with her arms and her eyes! Isn't she so cute? I really like her! I'm excited to make her some clothes!