Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Popping out to Meadowhall

Lee and I had to pop to Meadowhall for something last week ago, so we decided to go a bit later on in the day. We're not sure how busy it would be around 6pm, so we got there just after 8pm. We went in through Marks & Spencer, wearing masks, obviously. There weren't many people around, but a lot of security guards. 

We went into Waterstones for a browse. It was nearly empty and the cashiers were behind perspex screens. I bought four books, on buy one get one half price! Lee got one too, it was £1! 

Then across the way from Waterstones was a new shop called Kenji, selling Japanese stuff. It had really cute plushies, stationery, and Japanese noodle cups and drinks. I could have spent quite a bit, but I restrained myself to a new bullet journal, some stickers, and some of that black paper that when you scratch a design off, it shows a rainbow underneath. Lee got a couple of cups of noodles to try, too. 

Lee then went to pick up what we'd gone in for, and I sat and read my book while he was gone. It was a bit weird really. I could see the Starbucks downstairs, where there was a huge queue that snaked quite a bit around. There was also a queue for a shop downstairs, but I couldn't tell which shop it was. But otherwise, it was very quiet and a bit weird. So many shops were shut - and who knows if they'll ever reopen - and everyone was masked and keeping apart and there were perspex screens all over. I found it a bit sad really - it's not 'normality' and who knows if it ever will be again. 

Anyway, we were leaving after 9pm so we had to go out a different way. It was fine, though. I'm glad I got to browse Waterstones, but it was a bit odd.

The next day two parcels arrived for me. One was my tri-monthly box from A Box of Stories where you sign up for a themed box and get them as often as you like. I get a mixed fiction box every three months. I haven't heard of any of these books, but I like the sound of all of them and am looking forward to getting stuck in to them. 

Then Lee had ordered Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette on vinyl for me. It's one of my favourite albums - I know every word of it. I bought it on tape when I was about fourteen on holiday in France! It was expensive but I've listened to it a zillion times since. I'm looking forward to listening to the vinyl :) 

Stationery from Kenji. The bullet journal is dotted inside which is my preference. The paper seems good quality, which is good for me as I use fountain pens a lot

The books I bought. I've heard really good things about the top two, and the second two were in the Young Adult section and looked pretty good

These were my books from A Box of Stories. Sugar Money especially looks good!

And my lovely vinyl!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Hello Deer Cross Stitch Finish

I recently finished a big cross stitch piece that I've been working on since Christmas. There's about seventy hours of work in it, which shows how long it takes to make something homemade and beautiful. I bought the kit from Caterpillar Cross Stitch. I've made a few of theirs now, and I really like them because they're clear and easy to do, and they don't have tons of half stitches and back stitching, both of which I really dislike. I love how they look - you can see some of my other makes here on my blog. This was a stitch along last year, but I didn't keep up to it. I started this in January and have been mostly crafting on it since then. 

I've got two other kits from Caterpillar Cross Stitch to do - one is called Made to Create and it's like different crafty bits, and one is called Hello Petal and it's the sister to this one, and is for Spring. Hello Pumpkin for Autumn already exists, but I don't have the kit yet, and Hello Sunshine for summer is coming soon! I think I will do all four and put them on the wall together.

I loved stitching the robin, the rabbit, and the squirrel on here. I didn't like doing the tree, so I did that after the robin and before the rest, so as to get it out of the way. I bought the kit that had evenweaves instead of aida, which is what most people cross stitch on. I love the look of evenweave even though it requires more counting and concentrating! 

I also finished this bookmark! Whenever I have a few centimetres of thread left, I sew it on to this piece of aida. I've had this on the go for about three or four years. I'm so glad it's finally finished! I'm going to back it on to some felt I think to stop it fraying any more, and then I'm going to start another one!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Films of the Month - March

I watched more films in March than I had in February, which was good. I watched a few films with Sam as she was off work for a couple of weeks. Here's what I saw:

A lot of people had been talking about Framing Britney Spears and honestly, I would recommend it. I always kind of wrote her off, but I know that since her breakdown she's lived under a terrible conservatorship, with her dad at the helm. It is very hard to not be on her side and the film shows why

Beautiful Thing is one of my favourite films and I watched one rainy afternoon by myself

Some friends and I watched Moxie, which is based on the book by Jennifer Mathieu, and which came out in March on Netflix. My review of the book is here, and I really enjoyed the film too. 

Lee and I watched Honey I Shrunk the Kids because it was on the 80s film list. I loved it as a kid and I think it does stand up over thirty years later as a feel good family film

I've seen the documentary that this film is based on, which is about the 2015 season on Everest, which was one of the deadliest ever. I liked the film 

Lee and I watched Back to the Future II which is also on the 80s film list. It's one of my favourites so it wasn't a hardship to watch it! I love it

Sam and I decided to watch all the Ocean's films so we started with Ocean's Eleven. I love it, it's such a fun caper and George and Brad are excellent as is mostly everyone else

Lee and I watched The Empire Strikes Back, which is my favourite of all the Star Wars films 

Sam and I watched The Prom, which I'd been meaning to get to for a while. Honestly, save yourself two hours and don't bother. It's not even that it's bad, it's just violently mediocre. It's awful

Then Sam and I watched Ocean's Twelve. It's the weakest of the trilogy for sure. The story makes no sense at all and I don't really like Catherine Zeta Jones

Operation Varsity Blues is part documentary and part reenactment of the scandal around rich people buying college places for their children. I really enjoyed it. Rich people do some weird things

Sam and I then watched Ocean's 13, which is better than the second one and has a more coherent story. It does, however, have too much Matt Damon

And finally we watched Ocean's 8, which is obviously the best and which I love very, very much 

Lee and I completed the trilogy and watched Back to the Future III which is the weakest of them, but is still a decent story

And then for some reason I wanted to watch Bowling for Columbine, which I've liked ever since I first saw it nearly twenty years ago. It was good to rewatch but painful to realise how little has changed in twenty years

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Rest of Our Staycation

As I said previously, Lee was off the week before Easter but we obviously couldn't go anywhere, but we had a really lovely week anyway. We lounged in bed, we watched films, we went out and got ice cream. When Lee is working I can't sit in the living room as that's where he's working from, so I enjoyed lounging on the sofa reading quite a bit. Lee did loads of bits around the house and we generally had a nice week. 

On the Wednesday we went to Yummy Yorkshire which isn't too far away from us, and where they are doing takeaway ice cream only currently. I got chocolate and caramel fudge ice creams, and a fudge stick. 

On Thursday I had ordered afternoon tea from Cannon Hall Farm again so we had those at lunchtime. So much, we didn't eat it all but saved some for later. I video chatted with my friend Jac - we had wanted to go see her but it was too cold to sit outside anywhere!

On Friday I woke up to the news that one of my BFFs, Sarah, had safely had her baby first thing on Friday morning! That was brilliant news of course. They were discharged on Sunday - Sarah wasn't very well and they wanted to keep an eye on her for a bit. I hadn't slept well partly because I was worrying about her and partly because I have tennis elbow at the moment and it's really sore. I can't work out what's causing it, so I can't make it stop. I finally had a telephone call with a doctor about it and he prescribed strong painkillers. They work, but they're making me knackered and a bit loopy, and I'm still not sleeping great. But it's better than before!

On Saturday my mum and stepdad came to help us mend the fence. They can now visit us in the garden of course, so they did. Lee and my stepdad mended the fence, which involved concreting in a new post in and bolting the post into a metal holder. It should hold now, thankfully. My mum and I cut down a bramble bush that was in next door's garden (our gardens are weird and there's a gate between his and ours) but was coming through to both sides of our fence. It needed a lot of cutting and dealing with, and now needs some strong weedkiller on it. We did it though, although I can definitely feel the ache in my arms and hands the next day.

In the evening Lee and I made a Middle Eastern meal. It was so good and there was loads of it, enough for leftovers the next day. On Friday we had made labneh, which is strained yoghurt. It comes out tasting like cream cheese, and you're supposed to serve it with red chilli flakes and olive oil, with pita bread to dip in. We made hummus, which I've always wanted to make. It was so good! We made fatoush, which is a salad with pita bread chips in it, which we made by baking pita bread in olive oil. We made couscous and threw in some sauteed courgette and red pepper. And we made batata harra which is like a curried potato. Oh and we had some shop bought falafel too. It was all SO good! I'm so impressed with us!

I also had some cocktails delivered! I had been considering it, but I'm nthe only one that drinks, and I'm not a big drinker by myself. But a bar in Barnsley was doing 4 cocktails for £26 which I found reasonable, so I chose some and ordered them. Jac helped me decide which ones I wanted actually when we were chatting. A lady turned up at the time she said, and she was lovely. The cocktails were delicious! I might order again before lockdown is over. I really enjoyed them over two days. 

All the stuff in the food processor to make hummus. We couldn't find tahini so made it without and I think it was fine. We did add more garlic and lemon than the recipe said



This is labneh, it was SO easy and so good, I'll make it again

We pulled out our best plates and I served the hummus and labneh like this

Batata harra



And my lovely fresh delicious plate!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Trip out to Huddersfield

Lee had the week before Easter off, I don't think he had realised it was before Easter when he booked it because he had booked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, until my mum and I pointed out it didn't make much sense to go back for one day before the four day weekend. So he booked the Thursday off too, meaning he had a nice long break. Over the weekend we didn't do much. I've got tennis elbow and it's really painful and I had just seen a doctor about it, and the three meds he gave me for it were absolutely kicking my ass. I slept a lot that weekend! Lee is working on painting our stairs and landing, so he did a bit of that, but we mostly had a nice relaxed weekend.

On the Monday we had a relaxed morning playing with the kittens, and I had a shower. Then we set off to Beaumont Park in Huddersfield. I know it's near Lockwood, where there's a Dixon's Milk Ice shop, so I said we should go there on the way back. We stopped to buy sandwiches and drinks, and got to the park. I've never been before but there's loads there for kids to do and plenty of benches to sit on. Plus there was a Dixon's trailer! So we could get ice creams there and didn't need to go to the shop. 

We ate sandwiches on a bench. There were a few people around but it wasn't packed. It was so sunny and really nice to be outside in the fresh air. We got tubs of ice cream (and raspberry sauce of course!) and walked around a little bit. 

We drove back through Holmfirth because there was roadworks in Berry Brow which took ages to get through on the way there. It was weird because Holmfirth is always packed with people at the best of times, and in the Easter holidays it should be absolutely heaving. But of course nothing is open. It was so weird. 

It was a nice little trip out for sure! 

In the park

Milk ice and raspberry sauce

Looking down towards the playground

Look at the cute little trailer! The person serving said it's there in the Easter holidays and the summer holidays, which is good intel!

Looking across the park and towards Castle Hill in the distance

Sunday, April 4, 2021

New Pyjamas

If you're anything like me and you've been mainly at home for the past year, you've probably spent a lot of time in pyjamas. Now, I was always a pyjama wearer anyway - if I was at home and no one was there except Lee, I would always be wearing pyjamas, a soft bra, and an old skirt. I find wired bras really uncomfortable and clothes often make me feel itchy by the end of the day. I prefer to be comfy, and as I'm always cold, I like to be warm and cosy too. 

But obviously being at home for the last year has meant that I've worn pyjamas every day. I've not been out that much. I had three or four pairs of pyjamas and I've rotated them over the past year but honestly, they had had it. They had gone all bobbly and horrible. So I set out to find some more. I went first of all to Crazy Clearance and orderede five or six pairs off there. They were a mixture of pyjama sets and 'lounge' wear, which I know has seen a huge surge in popularity over the past year. I haven't ever had any though.

I ended up keeping two sets from Crazy Clearance. One is a lounge wear set, made of velour, and striped. It's really cosy and I think it'll be really cosy in the winter when it's freezing in my attic room. It's pale pink and silver and has silver sequins on it. It's kitsch but I liked it! The other set was pyjamas with a cute top, but I don't remember which.

Two wasn't really good enough to replace all that I needed to bin, so I went on to Simply Be to see what they had. They and Crazy Clearance are owned by JD Williams so often have the same stuff, but Crazy Clearance tends to get stuff a couple of seasons later than Simply Be, and tends to be cheaper. Now I don't care about what's in fashion, so it makes no difference to me, so I always check Crazy Clearance first as I can often pick up dresses from between £10 and £20 which is perfect for me. But I wasn't impressed with their pyjama selection so went on to Simply Be.

They had way more choice, and at about the same price as Crazy Clearance, so that was good. I ordered about 7 sets I think. I ended up keeping four. Some didn't fit right or were an odd material. But I got a bunch of cute new pyjama sets and two loungewear sets I think. They were all under £15. I think I'm set for a while now!

This is the top from one of the sets. The pyjamas bottoms are just black, and also tighter than some pyjamas so feel a bit like leggings! But that's still comfy. I like this top - it's really soft and cosy, and way big enough for me.