Saturday, August 28, 2021

Afternoon Tea at Wentworth Garden Centre

For Christmas 2019, you know, in the Before Times, my mum and stepdad bought us a voucher for afternoon tea at Wentworth Garden Centre. I don't know if you've ever been but it's a lovely place - there's a large gift shop, a huge plant nursery, a cafe with the nicest homemade cake, gardens, an aquarium/farm, children's play area, etc etc. I love it there and my mum had had an afternoon tea so she bought us the voucher. However, due to lockdown, we obviously haven't been able to use it, and we weren't sure if it had an expiry date or not.

But a few weeks ago Lee rang up and we could still use it, so we booked the tea for one Sunday afternoon. The only time they had was 3.30, which was a strange time really, but we had some early lunch and just chilled out for most of the day until we set off for Wentworth. 

We went into the cafe which was the emptiest I have literally ever seen it. It's usually heaving. But restrictions were still in place so I guess that is partly why. I was expecting to be seated in the cafe but instead we were led through to the Bothy, where there were a couple of other tables already eating afternoon tea.

As it was so hot we were offered the choice of cold drinks instead of tea and coffee,  so Lee went for lemonade and I ordered a Coke. I don't often drink full sugar Coke (we usually have caffeine free) but it's really nice when the pop is cold and the weather is hot. 

Our afternoon tea stands arrived just after the drinks. I had all vegetarian sandwiches and Lee didn't have any red meat, but I swapped one of my egg sandwiches for his cheese and chutney as he doesn't like cheese. There were tons of cakes on top - scones, a chocolate torte, lemon posset, coffee cake, and a raspberry meringue. I couldn't eat all the cake so brought some home.

It was a really lovely tea, it's just a shame it was so hot in the Bothy. I'm glad we finally got to use our gift! 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Saturday with the Family

My aunt and cousin came up towards the end of July to stay with my grandma, so we made plans to see them. I haven't seen my cousin Peter since last August as he couldn't come at Christmas of course, and he's been completing his degree at uni in Bournemouth all year. He's finished now which is excellent, so he came up with my aunt. I wanted him to meet the kittens - we're a cat family - so Lee and I picked him up from my grandma's just before lunchtime and came back to ours. 

We had lunch and then because it was so hot decided to go to Cannon Hall. We managed to find a shady spot under a tree and sat there for a while playing a game. Lee and Peter went over for ice creams and then we went into the playground which was fun. Peter made the roundabout go so fast! 

Back at home the kittens were desperate to go outside but it was far too hot at the front, so we took them out the back with their harnesses on. They were inquisitive about it, if a little confused, and there's no grass to eat out the back, but they stayed there for a while anyway. 

Around 5pm we set off for my grandma's for tea, with my mum and stepdad coming too. It was so hot inside my grandma's house that I staged a coup and went to sit outside with Lee. Everyone came with us and it was really nice to be out in the fresh air. We ordered some Turkish food for tea and had to eat that inside, but then we sat outside until nearly 11pm. Even my grandma didn't complain! 

Ir was a nice day, pretty relaxed but nice to spend some time in the sunshine and fresh air. Plus of course ice cream!

There was barely a cloud in the sky at Cannon Hall. There were people around but it wasn't stupidly busy

Two of my favourite people in the whooooooooooole world

And kittens outside the back for the first time! Jasmine was just the other side of Peter

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Trip to Manchester in mid July

I went to Manchester in mid July to meet up with my friend Amy. She had a baby, Robyn, in February and obviously thanks to lockdown I haven't been able to meet the baby yet so we made plans to meet up when we could. I suggested meeting at the Drop Bar Cafe in Chorlton. We've been before, two and a bit years ago when Amy's first baby Daisy was very little. I had it in my head that it was completely vegetarian, but I was wrong. It does serve meat, but it has good veggie and vegan options. It's Jamaican, so everything is nice and spicy!

Amy mentioned to me that Lily's, a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Ashton-under-Lyne that we've been to a couple of times, now has a deli in Chorlton, so I decided to go early to Manchester to go to it and to the Unicorn grocery, which is just near the deli. I've been there before with Amy. I had a gorgeous drive across the moors in the sunshine and arrived at the Unicorn around about 11.15. They're extending it so the car park isn't huge, but I managed to get parked. I bought lots of snacks like Bombay mix, and some sourdough bread for Lee, and some coleslaw and onion bhajis for both of us. In Lily's I bought samosas and a portion of dhal and stuff. It was so hot so I also got a cold can of lychee Rubicon out of the fridge!

I drove along to the Drop Bar Cafe and parked nearby at just after 12. I went in and got our table, even though I was a bit early. I ordered a pineapple juice and read my book while I waited for Amy. 

She and Robyn turned up not too long later, Robyn dressed in just her dungarees which I was very jealous about because it was warm! Amy ordered the vegan drop box and I ordered the veggie hence drop box, I'm pretty sure this is exactly what we each had last time! 

Mine was so good, it has jerk halloumi, veg curry, fried plaintain, two types of coleslaw, rice and peas, and a fried dumpling. It was all so nice, absolutely amazing flavours and really delicious. I'd recommend the place if you're in the area and you like Jamaican food! 

I had been sitting in the same place for quite a while by the time we left, and as I stood up I realised that the front part of my leg was numb down my shin. I'm pretty sure this is still a by effect of my surgery and the fact that the spinal block didn't wear off properly. I'm finding this happens sometimes, and if I get pins and needles in my leg it physically hurts, like I'm being pricked with actual needles, for ages as it wears off. I've mentioned it to my consultant and he said it was just an after effect and I shouldn't worry. The numbness did wear off, but it took over a day to do it. Sigh! 

Pineapple juice 

The wall in Drop Bar Cafe, so colourful!

Mine and Amy's lunch

And the cute just bag I bought in Unicorn!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Films of the Month - June

I did slightly better with films in June than I had in May, and watched eight films in the month, which was an improvement on the four films I watched in May. Here's what I saw:

I watched Love and Mercy, which is the biopic about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, starring Paul Dano as the young Wilson and John Cusack as the older one. Both were brilliant, I really liked the film and would recommend it even if you're not a huge Beach Boys fan (I'm not!)

(Sorry for the French poster!)

I watched Portrait of a Lady on Fire because I've been meaning to for ages. I really really liked it. I generally don't like films with subtitles as I find them hard to follow, but I was cross-stitching at the same time and I think the fact that I'm good at French helped. I would definitely recommend this if you haven't seen it

Lee wanted to watch Office Space so we did. I fell asleep in the middle part though, but from what I saw I liked it. Lee's seen it before but I never have. 

I watched London Town, which is about a teenager who gets into The Clash. It's okay - Jonathan Rhys Meyers was miscast as Joe Strummer in my opinion (I'm a big fan of The Clash) but it's a cute enough film

Next I watched Ammonite, which is Francis Lee's second film (he also did God's Own Country, which is one of my favourite films ever) and which is similar to Portrait of a Lady on Fire. It's good, Kate and Saoirse and both really good. I'd been rewatching Gentleman Jack too, so it was a good month for queer ladies!

Lee and I watched Finding Nemo together, it's one of our favourite films and we saw it in the cinema way back when it came out. I love it!

I had The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch on my Netflix list - I think it was recommended after I'd watched Orthodox, which was brilliant. This is less harrowing, it's quite tongue in cheek, but also a bit weird. It was okay but I wouldn't rush to watch it again

Lastly I watched The Impossible, which is about a family caught up in the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor were good, and baby Tom Holland was adorable and good. I liked it. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Day Out in Uppermill

Right at the end of June I went to Uppermill, right on the top of the Pennines, to see Steph. I obviously haven't seen her in forever thanks to the pandemic, and she was off for a few days so I drove over. It's weird because I put the address in my satnav and it took me a weird way to Holmfirth, and I thought, well if you'd said I had to go through Holmfirth I could have got myself there! I followed the A635 across the moors then. It was a lovely sunshiney warm day and driving across the moors listening to a podcast was beautiful! It's been a long time since I've driven myself so far, by myself, as where I've been for 16 months has been with Lee or just driving to work or somewhere like that. So it was nice!

I parked in Uppermill and met Steph. We went in a couple of shops and then had a cup of coffee in the sunshine. Then we went to a garden centre nearby which is also where we ended up eating lunch. The food was nice but the service was slow - the staff seemed very confused about what was going. We drove a little bit after lunch and went past some gorgeous parts of the moors. Then we went to a pub and had some dessert there while sitting on the canalside in the sunshine. It was really lovely! I didn't want to be too late home so I set off back about 3pm, but it was so lovely to see Steph and catch up after so long. 

I was wearing my new LGSM t-shirt. I saw it in The Bookish Type in Leeds but didn't have enough money to buy it as well. But then I immediately regretted it and decided to order it online. You can usually buy it through Gay's the Word (where LGSM originated), but it was out of stock. But then Housman's bookshop had it, so I ordered through them. I must point out it was the same £12 wherever I bought it. It arrived first thing on Tuesday so I put it on. I love it! I'll be wearing it lots over the summer I reckon. It's a 2XL which is the biggest size they stock (boo!) and while it doesn't fit me on the hips, it does fit on my arms and boobs so is fine tucked into a skirt. I love it!

My whole outfit, which included this skirt which as I've said before was a dress but the bodice was short on me so I cut it off

A close up on the shirt. If you haven't seen the film Pride, go watch it now!

Me and Steph in the car together!

Some sheep in the middle of the road in Marsden 

Sitting next to the canalside in the pub

And looking the other way

And finally this necklace which I bought from Asos a couple of weeks previously. It says 'Good times are coming' and I think that's perfect for just now!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Trip to Ilkley - Day 2

We had booked into breakfast at 10am on the following morning of our weekend away, so we were up just before that. Unlike in May when we had to have breakfast in our room, this time we went down to the dining room in Craiglands and could order anything from a full English breakfast to all different continental bits. We both chose a veggie breakfast and some other bits, and when it came it was delicious and just what we needed. 

We checked out at eleven and drove just a little way into the centre of Ilkley. We parked and went in a few shops. Lee checked out the charity shops. Then we joined the queue for Betty's, which is iconic in Yorkshire. I've been in most of the others, but not this one. We had to queue for quite a while as it isn't huge inside and I think they've taken out a couple of tables thanks to Covid, but we decided it was worth it. Once inside, we ordered a milkshake and a piece of cake each - it was around lunchtime but we'd obviously had a big breakfast. I had a chocolate eclair which was lovely.

After that we set off back as we were both tired. We took my mum and stepdad a cake each from Betty's as a thank you for looking after the kittens. They had been good girls except when my mum was trying to put them to bed in one room - Poppy hates going to bed and resisted my mum shutting her in! Too funny cos she does that at home. 

It was a lovely trip away and while the spa wasn't huge, it was worth the £15 for three hours that we each paid. We had a lovely time!

Danish pastries for breakfast which were delicious 

Breakfast with a veggie sausage

My chocolate eclair

And my really yummy chocolate milkshake

And finally Lee's vanilla slice

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Trip to Ilkley - Day 1

The 26th of June was Lee's and my sixteenth wedding anniversary, if you can believe it! It's also the day we've been together for twenty one years! I was only sixteen and Lee wasn't yet eighteen when we started going out. We couldn't go out to celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary last year, as we were still locked down, so we thought we would splash out a bit this year and do something special.

While we were away at the end of May, we booked through to go to a spa hotel in Wetherby. It included use of the spa, dinner in the restaurant, and bed and breakfast. It was a little over budget but we decided to go for it. This was the 25th of May. 

SIXTEEN days later, on the 10th of June, emailed Lee to say that unfortunately the hotel we booked was no longer available. They offered us a voucher as replacement. Now, I think that doing this over two weeks after we made the booking is really shocking service. If it had been a couple of days or something I'd be like, okay fine, but over a fortnight later is just not on. This of course meant it was only sixteen days before our anniversary, which didn't leave us long to find something else. I think someone had either double booked us OR had forgotten about us entirely. We were disappointed. 

Lee had a quick look on their website, but we couldn't find anything comparable in price, so we asked for a refund instead of a voucher. That took ten days to come through, which was annoying - they're quick enough to take it but drag their feet putting it back! We were disappointed as we've never used before and won't bother again!

We both looked all over the place for something else to do, but Lee was pretty stuck on a hotel with a spa and eventually he found Craiglands Hotel in Ilkley. We got bed and breakfast for a good price, and use of the spa was £15 per person extra which I felt was acceptable. We decided to not eat in the restaurant as we weren't sure what veggie choices would be for me. Instead I did a recce of about fifteen restaurants in Ilkley and let Lee choose - he went for the French bistro because he wanted the roast chicken and chips! 

Lee has been suffering from vertigo recently so I had to drive to Ilkley instead of him. Before that though, we took the kittens to my mum's house, where they were staying overnight, and my mum fed us lunch, which was nice, and also useful as we'd had nothing in the house. We could also make sure the kittens were settled before we left - and they were fine. I'm not sure who had most fun - them or my mum and stepdad. 

We arrived around 2pm in Ilkley after a lovely drive over the moors. Our room was small but fine, and the bed was comfy. The bathroom was massive, and had a bath, which Lee was happy about as he likes a bath. We went down to the spa almost straight away. It was in the cellars of the building and was quite strange. There was a deep relaxation/quiet room, where we went for a bit and Lee went to sleep while I read my book. There were fancy showers and a sauna, and a steam room, and some nice deep seats. And there was a hydro pool, which was about two metres wide by four metres long. It had massage jet seats all down one side, and the water temperature was really warm. We spent most of our time in there. We had three hours to spend in the spa, and at some points we were alone in the pool which was lovely. It was just long enough for a tiny swim, and it was lovely to float in too. 

We both really relaxed and it felt utterly lovely. We finally got out and headed upstairs where I had a shower and Lee had a bath before we went out for food. As I said we'd chosen Bistro Pierre. The food was nice and the price reasonable, but the service was a bit lacking. But, we had three nice courses each and then headed back to the hotel where we had a drink before bed! 

I would go back to Craiglands - the spa is nice and for £15 I couldn't complain. Here's my photos: 

Lee took this, there was no one else in the pool at this point

Me on the edge

Sitting against one of the massage jets

You can see how narrow the pool was in this photo

I liked this picture in the restaurant

This was a Rose Garden spritz, it was lovely

Deep fried Brie and chutney (Lee had hummus)

Halloumi burger and fries and coleslaw - not very French I'll give you, but I liked it. Lee had the half roast chicken and chips

Crepes with lemon sugar sauce and ice cream, they were lovely!

Some of the front of the hotel - our room was just to the left of the green canopy on the first floor

And what I wore to go out in - I got this dress from Simply Be a couple of years ago but have only worn it a couple of times. It was nice to wear out!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Trip to The Bookish Type in Leeds

 At the end of June I went to Leeds to meet my friend Leanne and to visit The Bookish Type, which is an independent queer bookshop in Leeds. I can't remember where I first heard of it, but I've been wanting to go, so I said that on Twitter and Leanne replied saying she'd love to go. I haven't seen Leanne or her partner and child since Christmas 2019, so it was well overdue and I was really looking forward to it. I went into Leeds a bit early and ate some lunch by myself in Costa, having parked in the Merrion Centre, before I went upstairs to meet Leanne. The shop isn't huge, but it does have soooo many books. They're all nicely categorised, too. First on the left was children's and middle grade, so I spent some time looking at that. I was pleased to see the Murder Most Unladylike series on the shelves! 

I was thrilled to see so many books that I've already read, and books by friends of mine. It was so lovely! I picked up three books and some badges. 

The YA section was big - two shelves - and I asked the person behind the counter if I could take some photos of it. I always do this in bookshops as I don't want to annoy anyone, and I also don't want them to think that I'm taking photos of books I want so that I can buy them online later as I think that's rude IF you have the money to buy in store. The person said yes and I said I was a YA blogger and was really impressed by their selection. There were books about teens of all races, with other intersections like disability, and not just contemporary YA but fantasy and so on too. The person thanked me for the compliments and said they didn't always know what to buy, but tried to focus on British YA and not have solely American YA. 

Leanne bought a book for her little girl and then three books for herself. We went for coffee afterwards and spent quite a while catching up. I set off home around 4.10 and didn't get home until 4.50 - I've forgotten what being in queuing traffic is like! I used to work in Leeds and I honestly don't know how I did it! 

Here's the YA shelves what I got:

Look how vibrant and colourful they are - absolutely gorgeous. The person behind the counter and I had a discussion about how queer YA has come on so far since we were teens. This is one of the reasons I love it so much! It just didn't exist 20 years ago when I was a teenager!

The book on the left is a sequel and I read the first one ages ago and have been meaning to buy this one. The other two just looked good

La! If you've seen It's A Sin, you'll know why this has become popular. I have a t-shirt too. The others are inclusive badges and I am an inclusive queer. Thanks!