Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lockdown Holiday Day 3

We had a lazy morning on the Wednesday of our holiday as we both needed showers and needed to sort some stuff out. We eventually set off around midday. We had some leftovers so we stuffed them into some pita breads and wrapped them up with some drinks and headed off to Cannon Hall to sit in the park there. I wasn't sure if it would be open but it was. We walked to some shade under a tree and ate our pitas. It was lovely!

We got ice creams from the van in the car park and then we had to go pick up Lee's car from Wakefield so we drove there. I got home before Lee as he'd had to get some petrol, and he'd also bought two Calippos so we sat in the garden with our feet in the paddling pool. It was so warm, the water, but still lovely. Lee went and put his swimming trunks on and sat in the pool, proving it can indeed be done even though it is very small.

I chilled out for a bit while Lee resealed the bath and some other stuff in the bathroom, something which has needed doing for ages but which we just haven't got round to. It was such a hot day so I laid in the darkened bedroom for a while. I was feeling pretty sad over Ivy's death actually, so gave myself permission to be sad a bit.

For tea Lee had said he would make pan haggerty. It's a traditional north east dish although there are variations. Lee's mam makes hers with the leftovers of Sunday dinner, but Lee makes what his grandma, who was from Northumberland, made. It's layers of potatoes, butter, onions, and cheese. It's not difficult, but it's quite labour intensive, so Lee tends to me it on holiday when he's got time to faff. It's delicious! We had it with fake chicken fillets and sweetcorn. I sat outside in the evening sun while he made it.

In the evening I had a date with my BFFs to watch the final of the Great British Sewing Bee. We've done this for a few weeks and it's been lovely. I made myself some pornstar martinis and drank them out of my fancy new martini glasses, which I'd bought off eBay.

I had worn the same dress that I wore on Sunday as it's ideal for the summer, but I had put my chub rub shorts on underneath instead of leggings. It was so hot so I needed to. I got them off Laura, who was getting rid of them but they're from Snag Tights originally. They're a gorgeous greeny turquoise colour which matched the dress perfectly. I have the same shorts in black, but why not go colourful if you can! I'd really recommend Snag Tights if you haven't tried them.

Bulgur wheat, fake chicken shawarma, cucumber and tzatziki all in the pita bread. Yummy!

Ice cream in the car

Calippo in the garden 

Lee sitting in the tiny paddling pool

And here's my shorts! They can stretch quite a long way but I was wearing them to my knee which was ideal under this dipped hem

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Lockdown Holiday Day 2

On the second day of our lockdown holiday I was determined we would find somewhere to go paddling. I have really missed swimming and water and I really want to go back to the gym, but obviously only when I'm sure it's safe and currently, I definitely don't think it is. So, a paddle in some water would have to do.

We set off from our house at about 12.30. We packed a picnic and our camping chairs (I swear those are going everywhere with us this summer) and headed to Underbank Reservoir, where we went a few weeks ago over one of the Bank Holidays. I knew it would be quieter and hoped we could sit near a bit where the water was more easily accessible. It was so quiet - there was only another couple at our side of the reservoir, and some sports and fishing going on over the other side. We ate our lunch and some very tame ducks came asking for food, so I fed them some breadsticks. We walked down to the river's edge and paddled. The water gets very deep very quickly and apparently it's very cold, so swimming is prohibited, and you can't paddle very far. But it was nice to put my feet into cold water! I had worn my Saltwater sandals as they're waterproof and ideal for paddling in. They don't look any different afterwards and they soften up easily enough too.

The temptation to chuck myself in the water was extremely high, though!

We drove to Yummy Yorkshire which is an ice cream parlour and currently they have an outlet open for takeaway ice creams. When we arrived, it was all really well set out with loads of signs and felt safe enough. I got a double cone with chocolate and salted caramel, both yummy!

We went home and napped for a bit as we'd both not slept well, I think due to the heat. Then we sat outside and filled up the paddling pool so we could both dip our feet in. It was lush! Lee was working on the flooring in the attic too, it is so almost finished! We ordered pizza too as a treat.


Lee relaxing in the shade

The three ducks brought friends!

I was quite jealous of these people paddle boarding

In the water! In water! 

I was wearing my flamingo skirt and pinkish top, it's one of my favourite summer outfits

Kisses in the queue at Yummy Yorkshire

Yay ice cream!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Lockdown Holiday Day 1

Lee was off at the end of June. We were supposed to be on holiday in the Cotswolds, in a cottage on a holiday park with a spa, and I was really looking forward to spending so long in the swimming pool and getting to pootle round all those little villages. However, we clearly couldn't go away, but Lee decided to still have the week off. He really needed a holiday as he had been working flat out for about six weeks as there have been loads of problems with what he works on (he's a software developer) and he's had to spend hours sorting it out. We had lots of stuff to do around the house but I was determined that we would get some outdoor time and sunshine and do things each day, even if this only meant going into town for some coffee or something. I am still preferring to stay out of busy places, and I don't want to go shopping, for sure.

So, on the Monday Lee did some tidying up in our new garage (it's so complicated, but it's outside our house, and we're renting it) while I did wages for work as people obviously needed paying. Then I said we should go to the tip to get rid of loads of stuff we've accumulated during lockdown as we've been redecorating the attic. Lee played jenga to get everything into my car, as his was at the garage. Mine is a Vauxhall Corsa, and it's surprising exactly how much stuff you can fit in it. I drove and Lee sat in the back squashed in by the old sofa bed.

We had to queue at the tip in a very confusing manner, so we swapped round so Lee could drive. I was in the back, very squashed, but I was glad I had my book with me as we waited around half an hour. We got rid of loads of stuff and then went to the petrol station and bought ice creams from there. We came home and ate them in the sun tent in the garden, which was lovely. We also bought a paddling pool a few weeks ago - it's really small but definitely big enough to put our feet in and cool down on a hot day. I said we should start filling it, so we did.

It was a nice, relaxing first day!

Me in the front of my car all squished in

And even more squished in the back!

Solero in the sun tent

Paddling pool!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Father's Day Day Out

I messaged my mum the day before Father's Day to ask if we could go over for lunch and to take my stepdad his Father's Day present. We had some picnic stuff left over from the park the day before, so she didn't need to worry about feeding us. She said yes, so we set off about 12.30 and headed over.

We can walk into the back garden without touching a gate or a door, and when we're there we sit apart by at least two metres. We take our camping chairs and picnic set so we're not using their crockery or anything. We washed our hands outside and used antibac throughout the day. It feels safe enough, so we did it. We had lunch together and I had taken stuff to make mojitos so we each did that so we weren't cross contaminating anything that way.

It was sunny but there were clouds coming across quite a lot meaning there were less sunny bits. The wind was quite strong so the clouds were moving quickly. We had some wine and sat for ages. I was enjoying myself just sitting in the sun and being somewhere that wasn't my own house. I think I said that Lee was off work and I was determined that we would both have a break, and I certainly felt relaxed sitting in the sunshine chatting.

We bought my stepdad a gin tasting kit that you do from home, you order it and all the stuff comes to your house but then there's videos you can watch online so that you can be told about the gin and stuff. He really loved it, he likes gin but isn't able to get out much at the moment, so it's ideal. It's my mum and stepdad's 10th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks so they said they might order it for then which would make it quite a nice special occasion for them.

About 5pm I was thinking about tea and I looked at what takeaway options are available at my mum's house, which is in the next town over from us (although only about 15 minutes drive from us thanks to the motorway). I think I've said that I've been missing takeaway options that aren't Indian, Chinese, or kebabs. Well at my mum's a Turkish restaurant popped up, and I immediately thought that sounded great, so I coerced everyone else into it too. Not that they took much persuading! I ordered veggie halloumi kebab and everyone else ordered chicken. It didn't take very long to arrive and it was SO GOOD. We all enjoyed it a lot and it was so nice to eat together.

We left not long after that. I had had sun and alcohol and was very tired! I was wearing this new dress from Simply Be, I got it a couple of weeks ago and the minute I tried it on I knew I would have to keep it. It's got a lovely bardot top which I like as I quite like to show off my shoulders, and the top has all sheered elastic to it which gives it a nice stretch. The bottom has a fake wrap to it, but when I sit down it doesn't split too far, and then it has the nice high low hem too. Plus I absolutely LOVE the print! Everyone agreed it was lovely and when I put it on Instagram I got a ton of comments too! I will be wearing it a lot this summer I think!

Making mojitos

Oh and then blood orange gin in a fancy glass

Halloumi kebab with rice and salad and yoghurt - everything came like this which meant there was plenty for everyone

My view for most of the afternoon

And here's the dress of dreams! Isn't it lovely? 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Day Out in the Park

Well, we're still staying at home more or less. We're fortunate that we can both work from home, but we're just a bit bored. Lee had a week off at the end of June. We were supposed to be going to the Cotswolds for the week as it was our 15th wedding anniversary, yep that's FIFTEEN years, but obviously that couldn't happen. But he decided to still take the holiday and we decided we would try to get out a bit and do some things. On the first Saturday we headed to Sheffield to meet up with Bettie and Jen.

Bettie and Jen are both NHS workers and have been working non stop during the pandemic, sometimes on the front line. It's actually really interesting what they've been doing. We decided to meet up in Hillsborough park near their house, so we took our camping chairs and stuff, and bought lunch stuff at the shop on our way. We recently bought a really low table for camping, in the hopes I can use it for working on my laptop outside, so we took that with us. We decided to sit near the pond where we could see the geese and swans. It was overcast but the sun did peep through occasionally.

We had a lovely picnic lunch sharing what we'd each brought, and then had an ice cream from the van. We sat for ages just chatting and enjoying the sunshine. It was really lovely to see FRIENDS, to see PEOPLE in the actual flesh! There were plenty of people about but spread around the park widely, and we of course sat far apart from each other. It was so nice!

I wore this dress, it was originally from everything5pounds and used to look like this. However it then got washed with something that bled into the white and whatever I did I couldn't get the white bright again. So I chucked the whole dress into the washing machine with a packet of Dylon dye in black. I knew the white stitching wouldn't dye, as it's polyester and often doesn't, but I thought it was worth a go. The two shades of black are quite different - the bits that used to be white look indigo or a very dark grey. I was pretty pleased with how it came out and have been wanting to wear this for ages but of course, I just haven't been anywhere TO wear it. So I pulled it on with my Fashion World cardigan which is a pretty nice pink cardigan and was perfect for the weather.

Panorama of the park when Lee and I arrived, before we moved to be near the pond

I was cross because my hair kept blowing all over the place and it was WILD

Ice cream! Lush

And here's the dress, as you can see the stripes are still apparent, which I think looks nice - although it is unusual for me to wear all black! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Baking Bread

Lee and I have been baking a lot more in lockdown, mostly because we've had a lot more time to, and we've enjoyed having nice things to eat in the house. I saw everyone baking bread and I wanted to do the same, but we haven't been able to get yeast anywhere. We've been in quite a few shops, and we had asked around at the market too. A friend told me about a place in Barnsley where you can weigh your own stuff, so I even asked them, but they didn't have any either. In the end I bought some off eBay, which proves you can buy literally anything you want on eBay. It was probably more expensive than in a shop, but it had free postage and it arrived quickly.

It also came with a recipe for bread, which looked really simple, so we baked it one Sunday morning. It was just flour, yeast, sugar, and water. You activated the yeast with some of the water and the sugar, and then added it to the flour. The recipe said to use your hands to mix it in, which I did. Lee is funny about stuff on his hands, so didn't want to get involved in that. Then you had to prove it for twenty minutes, which we did in the top of our oven. It rose beautifully. The recipe was for two large loaves or four small loaves, but we only had two small tins so we did two loaves at a time. It baked for around 40 minutes and then it was done!

The first loaf was quite dense, so I knocked back the remaining mixture as it had risen while the other was baking, and divided that between the two tins and baked again. I haven't actually eaten either of those yet, but we ate most of the first loaf for lunch. It's nice bread, simple but tasty, although I think I would have added a tiny bit of salt to it.

I'm already excited to try baking a focaccia maybe!

Mixing it all up in my vintage bowl that I got from an antiques shop years ago

The first two as they came out!

And we just ate it simply, with butter

Friday, July 3, 2020


We lost our cat Ivy this morning. As I write, it's the 5th of June. We rushed her to the vet at 7am this morning as I woke up at 6.35 and found her really floppy and unresponsive. She was still breathing and the vet did everything she could to save her, but unfortunately she didn't make it. We will have her cremated and have a little casket to put her ashes in to keep.

She had been a little bit not herself for some time. When lockdown started she seemed at first to like the fact that we were around all the time, but then she seemed to get fed up and spent a lot of time in the bedroom asleep where neither Lee nor I were around to bother her. She had still be playing, eating, drinking, asking to go outside, and demanding cuddles just  the same as ever, but we do wonder now if she was beginning to get poorly. On Wednesday she was definitely unwell - she threw up and had a bad stomach - but we had changed her food and thought she just had a bug. She did still eat. On Thursday she still wasn't well, so we said we would take her to the vet on Friday to make sure she was okay. She seemed very lethargic, although we have thought that was due to the heat, which always bothered her quite a bit. We cuddled her lots on Thursday night before bed, which I'm really glad about now. She had been sleeping in the corner of the bedroom on top of a bag.

I woke up at 6.35 and could hear her breathing was very funny. She was very unresponsive and breathing very shallowly. We phoned our vets, whose out of hours service didn't work, so that's really helpful. We phoned another, and met them there at about 7.05. They gave her two shots of adrenaline and some oxygen, but couldn't do anything for her.

They think she had a heart attack and had gone into shock. This may have been what woke me up at 6.35. They said her heart may have been failing for a while, or she may have had a tumour, or something on her lungs. We just don't know. I am confident that up until two days ago she did have a good quality of life. She asked me to let her outside on Tuesday, for goodness sake. I don't think there was anything else we could have done. I'm so glad I did wake up so that we could try to save her, even if it was ultimately unsuccessful.

The vet also thinks she was older than the fourteen years we thought she was. When we adopted her, she had lived with her sister Holly and we were told they were born at Christmas (hence the names) but we're unsure what year that was. Holly was a bigger cat and apparently bullied her, and so the two of them were to be split up. Ivy came and talked to me straight away, and I also loved the white markings on her bum that made her look like she was wearing tights. She came to live here in January 2007, so she had been here over thirteen years. Lee didn't like cats but Ivy didn't give him a choice - she just put herself into our lives and made him love her. She would follow him round the house and loved lying on him.

She had problems with her teeth and had most of them removed in January 2011. Looking at her remaining ones today, the vet thought she was older than fourteen, and this may have contributed to the heart failure. I really don't think there was anything we could have done, but it's easy to beat yourself up wondering what if.

When we got our garden mended in 2016, with turf finally put down, Ivy was allowed outside for the first time. She would ask to be let out, although if the weather was bad she would soon come back in again. She loved to lie on the path in the sun. She could have possibly jumped over the fence at either side of the garden, but she never bothered to try. She was very nosy and loved to see what the neighbours were up to, and they thought it was funny how she would just sit in the garden and please herself. I wrote about that here. We have spent a lot of happy hours lying outside in the sunshine with Ivy, and right up until Tuesday she still wanted to be outside.

I think I will have some photos of her printed off and put into an album or on the wall. She was extremely photogenic, although I appreciate that I am biased. She was very, very soft. And little! She had very little legs and was always a bit chubby. We gave her unlimited cuddles, all the cold water she wanted, lots of sunny windowsills to lie on, treats, and a lot of love.

RIP Ivy, possibly Dec 2005 - June 2020. You were a fantastic, loving, beautiful cat, and I was privileged to have you live in my house and give me such attention. You will be so, so missed.

This was a couple of weeks ago, and she was too hot. She often did this when she was too hot

This was a few weeks ago, she is sitting on Lee's pillow here. SHE was comfortable, but I'm not sure he was!

She liked sitting in little boxes, like many cats, and sat in the jigsaw box a lot

Cuddling me the other day

Her little crossed paws just absolutely slayed me! She had in recent weeks been sleeping on my pillows a lot (which makes me now wonder if she was unwell and wanted to be near to me) and this was one morning before we got up

Oh and look, this is her "no pictures, please" pose. So cute

And this was just last week when we were lying on the grass in the sunshine. Too adorable.

My heart feels broken right now. I loved her so, so much. Thanks, cat, for being the best