Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Lee's Birthday 21st August

It was Lee's 38th birthday in August. When he and I first got together, he was about to celebrate his 18th birthday. His mam bought him a huge chocolate fudge cake and he ate three quarters of it, I swear. We've had loads of nice times on his birthday since. We often go away but we decided not to this year as we were going away the week after (which I'll blog, obviously!). Lee only told me a few things to buy so I bought him those and then some aftershave and some chocolate too, which he always likes. The aftershave is Davidoff Cool Water, which I LOVE on him. 

Lee decided he would like to go swimming. We had been looking at going to Hathersage lido, but their swimming times go for sale at 6am each morning and are always sold out by the time I get to look! So we decided we would go to Barnsley Metrodome. It's a big leisure pool and when we looked, you had to book an arrival time and then you got 90 minutes to swim, which seemed fine to us. So we booked for 10am, meaning we basically just got up, fed the cats, and went into town. You were supposed to arrive "beach ready" meaning with your costume on, so we just stripped and got into the pool.

It wasn't too busy and it was SO LOVELY to be in a swimming pool. We hadn't been since the end of February and MISS swimming so much. We usually go to the gym at least once a week and usually book holidays with pools, so we've really missed it. It was so lovely to launch myself into water. There's a big leisure pool with a wave machine so we got to play in the waves a few times, and there's a lane pool, so we went in there to swim down to the deep end a couple of times. They're connected with a shallow area that has bubble jets in it, so we sat there for a bit too. It was SO much fun. But I knew that my body would really hurt afterwards and indeed it did.

We got into the car still wet, sitting on towels and plastic bags to stop the car from getting wet. We went home, where the cats wanted to eat us (what is it about chlorine), had showers, and headed back out again to the White Rose Centre where we were meeting my mum and stepdad for lunch.

They haven't been inside a restaurant since before lockdown. My stepdad would probably get Covid really badly and as my mum has still been working 3 days a week, they've really limited their exposure by just staying at home even as lockdown has eased. We had talked about eating outside, but none of the restaurants in the White Rose were doing that (even though some of them in "The Village" have tabled outside? So they could!). But Wagamama wasn't very busy and we were able to get a table by the door which my mum and stepdad were happy with. We were far away from others, so they were happy. 

My mum has been to Wagamama before, a couple of years ago with me, but my stepdad never had. I knew they would like some of it, though. I recommended they try the steamed buns and the gyoza, because they're delicious and people tend to enjoy them. They went for other stuff too and they LOVED it. My stepdad got katsu curry and said it was really delicious, he was really happy to try it and said he wanted to go back and try some other things in there. 

I went for bang bang cauliflower (one of my favourite dishes ANYWHERE), the steamed vegan buns, and the avant gard'n which I've had before. It's a vegan bowl with an "egg", rice, sticky seitan, edamame beans and more. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My mum wanted to make a couple of alterations to her food and the staff were very willing to do that, which is good. 

We even had dessert! I wouldn't normally in there but it was a special occasion after all. I had salted caramel ice cream which was really nice. We weren't rushed out of the table and by the end there was only us and a couple of other tables in there, so it was lovely.

My mum bought Lee a new WOK! This is very exciting! We haven't had one for ages and usually use a frying pan for everything, but since I went veggie I've been thinking we could do with a wok again. 

Lee and I had said we might go shopping after lunch, but it was after 3pm and we were both knackered, so we decided to just go home. The kittens were obviously happy to see us, and I had a little nap as I was very tired. I'd been going through some health stuff and not feeling well.

We watched a film together later and then Lee wanted to play one of his new video games, so that was fine! A low key birthday but still a nice one I hope.

I was wearing my Lindy Bop blue polka dotted dress which I love. My photo is featuring Jasmine! 

I took this just after swimming, to share on Instagram that I felt restored to life thanks to putting my body in water!

My nail polish was a Bourjois orangey neon one that I bought recently. It's nice but not very long lasting

Avant Gard'n bowl 

And my mushroom and aubergine steamed buns. I love these!

Salted caramel ice cream! It was really nice

Blue Lindy Bop dress and gorgeous Jasmine

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Day Out to Scammonden and Holmfirth

On one of Lee's days off in August we headed to Scammonden reservoir for a picnic. The weather wasnt' great but it managed to stay dry long enough for us to eat overlooking the water (and the M62! which forms part of the dam), which was nice. We got in the car just as it started raining and drove across the moors to Delph, where we then turned on to Saddleworth Moor to drive across to Holmfirth. We stopped a couple of times to take in the view, which was lovely. There were rainclouds but it was moving fast, and by the time we arrived in Holmfirth it was nice and sunny.

We decided to go get a drink and a piece of cake in Sid's cafe, which starred in Last of the Summer Wine, if you remember that. It's almost ten years to the day since I was last in there - I had an American friend visiting and my mum and grandma and I took her to Holmfirth to show her the sights. 

We went in a couple of charity shops and then came home, back to hungry kittens! We're not used to how much they eat and how much they need to be fed, I'm sorry girls! 

Since Blogger "upgraded" it's absolutely terrible, I can't get the photos to go in chronological order so here, have them backwards instead.

I bought this wax burner in a charity shop, it was only £1.49! And you know me, I love burning wax melts

My ridiculous hot chocolate in the cafe. The menus were on the table under glass, which worked quite well I thought

Refrigerator cake - basically tiffin!

The river through Holmfirth

The bridge and beyond - Sid's cafe is in that alleyway between the church and the ironmongers

Looking down from Saddleworth Moor

Look at all that gorgeous heather

Not entirely sure what this reservoir was called. It was just below a look out point and I walked a little way down. The ground was really spongy!

A flock of birds over Scammonden

Why are big bags of Hula Hoops also full of BIG hula hoops? It blew my mind. Also yep, these are vegetarian

Scammonden water

It is very pretty

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Trip to Rivelin Park

As I said, Lee had a few days holiday in August and I was determined we would go out into the sunshine again, but we couldn't go too far away from home as we didn't want to leave the kittens by themselves for too long. In googling, Lee found that Rivelin Valley park has easily accessible water to paddle in, so we decided to head there. We've never been before, so we followed Lee's satnav. It's not far from Hillsborough, so it was fine. We parked in the car park, which is small, but there is also parking on the road nearby. The website we found said there were stepping stones behind the duck pond near the car park, and that is indeed very true. It's a really short walk to them. We had taken our camping chairs (I told you they were going everywhere with us this summer!) so we went right on the river's edge by the stepping stones to sit. 

There were plenty of people around, coming for walks and stepping across the stones, but we paddled downstream a little bit. It is really shallow water and not that slippy, but I was glad to have my beach shoes on. Also the weather was 28 degrees so the water was lovely and cool. We stayed around an hour and I also walked over the stepping stones, which is something I barely have the confidence to do as I'm afraid I'll fall and hurt myself, but Lee helped. And I did it! Yay me. 

We went into Sheffield to buy lunch after, then came home to KITTENS. It was a nice little trek out, though.

Me in the river! That pole next to me was metal!

Standing on a rock. The stepping stones aqre just to the right of this photo


Lee paddling

Looking downstream

Lee made his way over to this log to sit on, I don't think I'd have managed it

And the amazing graffiti I saw in Sheffield!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

What I Wore August 9th

On August the 9th our friends Bettie and Jen came over to see the kittens. They got far more visitors than we do - everyone wanted to see them! We arranged for Bettie and Jen to come over for lunch. They arrived into Barnsley and we went to pick them up, then came back and Lee cooked a big brunch for us all. It was delicious - we tried some new-to-us veggie bacon which was really smoky and chewy. I thought it would be nice in buttered bread with lashings of ketchup.

And of course kittens! Jasmine is happy to be handled and likes to be cuddled - she's ridiculous. She also chases things with a lot of energy. Poppy is less happy to be cuddled, but she will get there I'm sure. She likes to play, though. Bettie and Jen were happy to meet them, it was really nice.

We offered to take them home to Sheffield, so we did that and then on the way home we called into Sunshine Deli, which is the vegan deli near the Hillsborough ground. I went back in February (you know, in the before times) with my friend Philippa, when I tried the banana blossom fish and found the whole texture a bit weird. But I wanted to go back and try something else. I went for a classic kebab which comes with salad and chips inside it, as well as the fake meat. It was SO good. Lee went for a fake chicken burger and fries and onion rings. He said it was really nice. I'm glad we took the opportunity as we were passing. 

I was wearing this dress from Simply Be. I've had it ages, but don't wear it often. The lace is a bit itchy. But it was nice for the afternoon. I've also been wearing this witchy necklace loads. I found it recently again and have worn it for weeks. I think it was from Punky Pins or something like that. 

Old Simply Be dress in that kind of scuba material

Fake kebab meat, salad, sauce, and chips, all wrapped in bread. It was huge!

And the witchy necklace I've been wearing recently.

Again I apologise for any formatting errors in this post, it's Blogger not me!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Day Trip to Bolton Abbey

Lee was off for a few days at the beginning of August so we decided we would go to Bolton Abbey on one of the days. We've been before, but not for absolutely years - we went for my friend's 30th back in 2014! That same friend has been posting photos from Bolton Abbey over the past few months when she's been with her family, and I've wanted to go back. Lee couldn't remember going at all, but agreed. 

It was the first day we were leaving the kittens by themselves so we didn't want to be too long. Thanks to the pandemic, you have to book an arrival time at the abbey estate and pay for it in advance. It makes sense to stagger people's arrival times I guess. I booked us to arrive between 12 and 1pm as it's a bit of a drive from us and I didn't want to get up too early. However I then woke up really early as it was so hot, and went upstairs to feed the kittens and play with them before I got in the shower. We took a picnic with us and set off. 

Arrival was really simple - you just showed the barcode on the booking and then could park wherever. As I'm not very steady on my feet anymore I wanted to be close to the river and at a place where it wasn't too steep to get into the water, so we drove right to the end of the riverside car park closest to the abbey and the infamous stepping stones, although we didn't see them. We could park right there so we unloaded everything and sat down under some trees.

It was promised to be blazing sunshine but there were quite a few clouds, which meant we didn't burn which was better. We had our picnic and then Lee walked along to the ice cream van to get cornets for us. After that we went paddling. We have those neoprene beach shoes for paddling, they're much better on your feet than bare feet or any other kind of shoe. We bought them a few years ago on holiday and they're really useful. I also decided to take my walking stick in with me. I hadn't needed it as we were parked so close to the river, but I thought it would help me in the water to keep my balance and find where was safe to step. And I was right! It really helped, it stopped me grabbing on to Lee and I didn't fall over. I would definitely do this again.

We didn't go very far but it was SO lovely to be in water. I really miss swimming and although our gym is open again we've taken the decision to pause our memberships for a couple of months as we don't believe it's safe enough for us currently. So a little paddle was perfect.

We drove down to the other end of the riverside car park before we left as I needed the loo. The cafe is open down there and there were people around, but both the cafe and the toilets seemed to be clean and everything was well spaced. We walked on to the bridge there to look at the river - it was pretty fast flowing at that point although I suppose we have had lots of rain. We haven't ever really explored Ilkley and Skipton so we're looking at going away for a few days there later in the year. 

Some photos:

Looking downstream when we first arrived. The stepping stones are just around the bend from this spot

This family of five were crossing the whole river at one point and it was quite funny - it's deeper and faster than it looks and they were all grabbing on to each other for stability

Ice cream!

Looking up river as we got in

Lee in the river wearing his new t-shirt
Me in the river!
Lee decided to recreate the photo from last time we were there

And then this is from the bridge. 

The formatting on this post is all wrong because Blogger has changed its interface and it's now TERRIBLE! So I'm really sorry!

Friday, September 11, 2020

A New Tattoo!

A few weeks ago I got a new tattoo. I had booked the appointment way back in March when I was trying to help out my tattoo artist by giving her some money when she couldn't work. I paid a deposit and told her what I wanted, and at the time August seemed forever away and I thought for sure Covid would all be over by then and my appointment would be fine. Of course, when it rolled around we were in that mid-lockdown place and things were open again but I wasn't going many places myself. But, well, a tattoo shop is one of the cleanest places anyway, and if it isn't, you shouldn't be getting tattooed there. Remember, please, that you're paying money and you need to feel comfortable wherever you go. I have had most of my tattoos done by Nini at The Ink Station because I like it and trust them and I prefer to get tattooed by women (and also support self-employed women while I'm at it). 

So I felt okay going. They had things in place to stop there being a lot of people in the shop, and there was a plastic screen between me and the rest of the shop, and Nini was wearing a visor. It was well organised and felt okay but I think at the moment everyone's lines are different. I don't want to be in busy places, but I trust Nini.

I think this is my twentieth tattoo, although I'm not sure without counting. I have a list somewhere in one of my bullet journals (I'm one of those people, although mine is a lot less complicated and time consuming than some). It might be more. About three quarters of them have been done by Nini. My first ones were done elsewhere, Lee's friend tattooed me once in Ipswich, and I've had one done by a different artist at The Ink Station, but by and large Nini has done them. She's very talented and she's fast, which I appreciate because I HATE the pain of tattoos. She's also put up with me for years now, tattooing the odd lyrics I have, putting up with me fussing about fonts and so on. She's good, if you're in need of a tattooist in West Yorkshire I recommend her!

I had been wanting a Star Wars tattoo for ages, and I've seen some really cool ones with galaxies in, so I knew I wanted that. I like the Rebel Alliance symbol so I decided on that. I asked Nini to put a TIE fighter in it. That's as far as we got before I turned up at the studio. We talked about putting a Millenium Falcon in, but the problem is that a Millenium Falcon in silhouette just looks like a blob. So she said what about a bigger star, and I said, well Tatooine has two suns, so how about two of them? Nini drew them on, made up the stencil and she got started. She wanted a lighter lilac around the TIE fighter so that it stood out, and I said I was happy for her to choose the colours. 

It took around 90 minutes, which is getting on towards my tolerance for tattoos. I don't have a very high pain tolerance at the best of times, and by the time you're there in tattooing the artist is going back over bits that have already been tattooed, which I HATE. I dunno why I keep putting myself through it again, but I love tattoos and the pretty pictures on my body. 

So, here's my Rebel Alliance tattoo with TIE fighter and a galaxy. The rebel scum is part of the alliance, and she's here to stay!

Photo was taken just after tattooing, so it's very raised and sore, but you get the idea!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Films of the Month - July

I watched loads of films in July, bringing my total for the year to just under one hundred! I was still watching a ton of films with my friend Sam, and she and I watched a couple of films with our friend Jac too. It was nice to see so many films and I really liked a lot of them. Here we go:

Sam and Jac and I watched Legend, where Tom Hardy plays both Kray twins. It's pretty fun, I like it a lot and have seen it a couple of times. Tom is great

I like the Inbetweeners TV show because it's SO stupid. The viewer is always supposed to laugh at all of them, at all times. So I wanted to see the film at some point too. It's okay. I liked Greg Davies' cameo at the end

Sam and I watched T2: Trainspotting, as I'd been meaning to rewatch it and she said she would. It's not as good as the first one, but it is hilarious and fun. I love Johnny Lee Miller so much

Good Vibrations is an excellent film about the record company in Northern Ireland that eventually signed The Undertones, among others. I like the film, I've seen it a couple of times and I think it's decent

I love The Italian Job, it's one of my comfort films although I hadn't seen it in a while. I watched it on a rainy afternoon, as it should be watched 

Straight after The Italian Job I watched Mamma Mia as it was new on Netflix. I've seen it before but not for ages. It's so much fun 

Sam and Jac and I watched The Internship together, it's a ridiculous film but it's got Dylan O'Brien in who we all love (we were big Teen Wolf fans back in the day). I don't love this, but it is fun

Sam and I watched American History X one Monday. It's one of her favourite films; I hadn't seen it in forever but I do love Ed Norton. It's great if you haven't seen it. Really amazing and hard hitting

Straight after that we watched Almost Famous, which we both also love. It was a pick-me-up after the depressingness of American History X. I haven't seen it in forever and thoroughly enjoyed it as always. Kate Hudson is great

I watched Dolly Parton: Here I Am on Netflix. It's SO GOOD. I love Dolly, and this is a really interesting documentary about her whole life and career. I would highly recommend it

Can you believe I've never seen Erin Brokovich? I've always meant to get to it, but never have. I LOVED it. Julia Roberts is great and it is so interesting all the way through

This is a sequel of sorts to The Commitments, which is one of my favourite films ever. It's good, it's loopy and Irish and I thought it was funny. I need to watch the third one, The Snapper, soon

This is a film about the HIV/Aids crisis in San Francisco, the people affected, and those who loved them and nursed them. It's really interesting, and obviously very sad. I would recommend it

Sam and I watched Slumdog Millionaire together as she's been having a bit of a Dev Patel thing (I mean who hasn't?). I don't think I've seen it since I saw it in the cinema way back when it came out, so I had forgotten a lot of the story. It's really good

I did not mean to watch this film, but I did, and it was a bit action and a bit ridiculous, and it passed some time, so that's all I needed really

Sam and I watched Hotel Mumbai together, still on the Dev Patel thing. I haven't seen it before and I liked it 

I had seen Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen recommended on Twitter. It features a ton of trans people talking about how trans people have been depicted on screen and what is good and bad about the various depictions. I LOVED it, it's so interesting and really made me think about how we tell the stories of marginalised people. Definitely watch it if you're LGBTQ+ or any kind of ally. Plus it made me want to watch Pose, so I started that on the BBC

So it's a bit weird how I ended up watching Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I had been after some books setting in the deep South of America, and someone recommended this. I found the film, instead, and planned to watch it. Then it turned up in Disclosure because of a trans character within, so I thought, oh I'll start it. However, I didn't realise it had Kevin Spacey in it (I don't like him as he assaulted Anthony Rapp, who was at the time underage) when I started. But, it also had John Cusack, who I love. So I stuck with it. I did like it, it's very much the Southern aesthetic I was hoping for. I'd appreciate other recommendations in this vein!

Sam and Jac and I watched Private Romeo together. It's set in a military academy where several boys are reenacting Romeo & Juliet, and the lead actors fall in love. It's very sweet and also kind of hilarious. 

Lastly, Lee and I watched Captain Marvel together, which we haven't seen since we saw it at the cinema, and which I LOVE. Brie Larson is amazing and I reallllllyyyyy hope there's a sequel one day!