Monday, March 20, 2023

Films of the Month - January

I only watched six films in January, the last one being on the 12th of January. I was busy the weekend after that, and then away for my birthday, and then my grandma died and I was dealing with all of that, so I just didn't get round to watching any more in the rest of the month. I feel a bit sad about it, but I can't do anything about it now I guess! 

Here's what I saw:

So here's the thing about Knives Out: I thought it was a horror film. I'm not sure why, but I did. So I never watched it, because I don't like horror films very much. Then everyone kept going on about Glass Onion over Christmas, and I was intrigued, so I started with the first one. I really liked it! Daniel Craig was brilliant

I watched Paddington 2 because I really like it as a comfort film. I think I prefer the first one but this is just so cute too

I have never seen the Indiana Jones films so I wanted to rectify that in 2023. So Lee and I watched the first one the first weekend of January. I did like it!

I loved Dumplin' the first time I saw it, the book was brilliant to. I watched this the day after I had had dental surgery and it was perfect for recovery

Netflix recommended The Courier to me, and I do like a war drama, so I liked this with Benedict Cumberbatch in it

Finally I watched Glass Onion. I didn't like it as much as the first one, though

Friday, March 17, 2023

Sale at the LGBTQ+ bookshop and Korean food with friends

On Sunday the 5th of February we headed to Leeds to meet up with our friends Leanne and Adi and their little girl April. I had noticed that The Bookish Type was having a sale and thought Leanne might like to join me. It's an independent LGBTQ+ bookshop and it's brilliant. The first time I went was with Leanne, and I went when I was Christmas shopping with my mum to buy some presents for friends. I was excited about a sale so we arranged to meet Leanne and co there just before 12.

Lee and I got to the Merrion Centre about 11.10 and went to the record shop, Jumbo Records, where we bought each other a record that we will give each other for Valentine's Day. We went into The Works and were just getting a coffee when Leanne messaged me to say there was a queue forming upstairs, so we headed up. The queue was already pretty big! The shop is not huge so even when the doors opened the staff were only letting about 6 people in at once. Adi, April and Lee decided to go down to Oba Kitchen, where we had planned to eat, instead of coming in, which made perfect sense as it's a small shop. 

Leanne and I headed inside eventually. There was a rack of secondhand books, none more expensive than £5. There was also a trolley of 'new but damaged' books, again priced cheaply. Of these, each customer was allowed ten, which seemed really fair to me. I picked up five. Then I picked three books off the shelves, at full price. My friend Sam bought me a voucher for the shop for Christmas, so I knew I could use that. Because of that I took chances on two books that I probably wouldn't have used my own money for. I also had Christmas money which took care of the rest of the money - I spent less than £20 in total so it was a bargain! It was a good sale, I would definitely go again.

Leanne and I headed to Oba Kitchen. There's two Korean restaurants in the Merrion Centre but one of them just does barbecue, meat options, with no veggie options, so it was no good for me. This one looked lush though. It has Japanese choices too. I nearly went for two Japanese dishes, but changed my mind as Japanese restaurants are more plentiful and I wanted to have something Korean. I went for sushi to start with, which was really yummy, and then veggie bibimbap for my main course. I've never had bibimbap before and am so glad I did - it was delicious and had an egg in it which I enjoy. It was nicely spicy!

Lee and I didn't get desserts but I had a Sex on the Beach cocktail instead which was really good. We said goodbye to Leanne, Adi and April, it had been so nice to see them as we hadn't seen them since Lee's 40th party back last August. We had bought April a Disney princess wand and I'm glad to say she really liked it!

I sat down while Lee popped into Morrisons and then we came home. I was wearing my new Alanis Morrisette t shirt which my aunt and uncle bought me, I love it and I'm so happy to finally have an Alanis t shirt! With it I wore my black and flowered skirt, which again used to be a dress but I like wearing it as a skirt with whatever top I like! 

It was a lovely Sunday - I do like buying books! 

First of all my nails - Chloe gave me this nail polish at the clothes swap and I just love it, a gorgeous dusty blue. My nails are finally looking okay again after I had gel on them

Outside the bookshop

Sushi to start with!

Veggie and egg bibimbap, I would like to try to make this for myself some time

Sex on the Beach cocktail, it was delicious

Two of my lovely lunch companions. April was busy chatting to me, including telling me which is her favourite type of penguin

And finally my outfit!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sarah's Birthday Party

At the beginning of February my friend Sarah had a birthday and housewarming party at her house near Workshop. She and Tom and Robyn moved there last October , Lee and I went over in November to see the house. They had a bit of a rubbish Christmas due to flu so Sarah wanted to have a party to make up for that a bit. So Lee and I said we would go. First of all we went into Barnsley because I needed an eye test (thankfully my prescription hasn't changed much and the optician did not recommend new glasses, which is great). We got some bits in M&S and then looked at the market, where we bought cake and also some new pillows for me. They were 2 for £20! This was also one of the items on my 40 Before 40 list, which is forty things I want to do before I turn forty next January. It was a basic item but a needed one I think!

We got to Sarah's just after 12 and found the house in chaos with many small children there. We sat in the dining room and chatted to a ton of people and I got to cuddle a small baby so that was fun. Because of everything going on with my grandma and stuff I had just bought Sarah some wine and chocolates, usually I would get her something more personalised but I don't think she minded because she likes wine and chocolate anyway! We left at about 3.30. There was a buffet which included a bunch of vegetarian sandwiches, then Sarah's mother in law had made some gorgeous individual pavlovas, and then Sarah's mum made a gorgeous gin and tonic cake, so we were well catered for! 

I was wearing this jumper that I got from Marks and Spencer in the sale in December. It's funny because my mum had the same one but all in green and I thought I had ordered that one, but this pink and navy one arrived and I didn't really think about it until I put it on. No matter though because I really love the colours of this one. I put it on with my black Lollidot skirt that used to be a dress, and new tights from Snag. My aunt and uncle bought them for me for Christmas, they are some of the duo ones. These are "Whack", white and black, and I love them, especially with the skirt! They're unusual and cute. 

Delicious homemade pavlova and fruit

The gin and tonic cake Sarah's mum made for her

M&S jumper, tucked into Lollidot skirt. I was wearing my patent boots that I got from Skopos mill last November - I haven't worn them in ages cos since Christmas I've been wearing my second hand Dr Martens! 

A close up of the duo tights, aren't they cute! 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

End of January, My Grandma, and Christmas #2

On the 25th of January my grandma died. She had been in hospital for about a week, suffering from fluid on her lungs and anaemia. She wasn't responding particularly quickly to treatment, but on Tuesday evening she was quite agitated and a bit in distress - my mum and stepdad had gone to see her and I'm glad they did. She died peacefully in her sleep at around 9.30am on the Wednesday morning. My mum rang me straight away and asked me to go to the hospital with her, so I very quickly got ready to go. What was worst is that Lee was on a flight to Frankfurt, to go to Bratislava where his company is based. I rang him straight away and he could have turned round and come home, but I told him there was no point because there was nothing he could do. He was going for some team building stuff so I told him just to carry on.

I went to my mum's and she and my stepdad and I went to the hospital to see my grandma. My mum's vicar (technically my boss, too) met us there and prayed over her, which meant a lot to my mum and would have meant a lot to my grandma too I'm sure. We went back to my mum's and started ringing round relatives and friends to let people know. My mum had obviously already spoken to her sister, and what is sad is that her mother in law died just 8 days before my grandma. I feel sorry for my cousins, losing both grandmas in such short succession! 

I could have stayed at my mum's but didn't want to leave my cats for too long so I went home. I was fine by myself, and I let the cats sleep with me overnight if they wanted which they don't always get to do. On Thursday morning my mum and I went swimming and then had coffee and cake in a cafe near me. I was by myself for the rest of the day but fine with the cats.

On Friday I went to lunch with someone I went to school with, who I haven't seen since I left school in 2000! I just burnt my bridges when I left I think, desperate to move on to the next part of my life (6th form college). I made friends with Sally on Facebook ages and ages ago and last year said it would be nice to meet up with her. So we arranged to meet for lunch at Blacker Hall Farm which is a nice place near my mum's house. I was quite anxious about seeing her, but it turned out we chatted just fine and I really enjoyed myself. I had falafel salad to eat and it was delicious! I headed home afterwards where Lee had just got home. We both napped for a bit before heading to my mum's about 4.30. Lee really wanted to see her, obviously, and make sure she was okay. 

My aunt and uncle arrived not long after us and we ended up staying for tea - my mum always has vegetarian sausages and sausage rolls in her freezer in case we need feeding, so we had sausage rolls with omelettes which were lovely. 

On Saturday we headed to my mum's for about 11am. My cousins and the eldest one's wife were already there. We had already planned to all get together on this day to have a big Christmas meal together and swap presents, as we hadn't had the chance to do that at Christmas itself. We decided we would still do this even without my grandma, and it turned out to be a really lovely day. We swapped presents, made a big meal with a lot of help from many people, and played some games. Rob made soups to start with, including a French onion soup that was so delicious. I had nut roast for my main course, with all the trimmings. I had asked Rob and Beth for a plush of Lucky from 101 Dalmatians, it is so cute! We left there around 11pm. I'm glad we still did it and didn't mope about my grandma - we talked about her, obviously. It was a lovely day.

I got this new pink hoodie off Vinted - Lolly saw the listing and sent it to me as I wanted one to replaced my burgundy hoodie which had really seen better days. This one was £11 and was brand new with tags! It is quite long but that will just keep my bum warm. It's big enough to wear a cardigan or jumper underneath too. 

So my grandma's funeral will be in February. On the Tuesday after her death, I went to my mum's and the undertaker and the vicar both came to see us so that was lots of admin to do. It was exhausting. I am glad to have nothing to do today except get my blogs up to date!

My grandma - I'm not sure how old she was here but I really like the picture

Falafel salad

Me and Sally! It was lovely to see her!

Modelling my new hoodie, I love the colour

Me and my cousin Peter on the Saturday - I always take a photo like this of the two of us at Christmas so had to carry on the tradition

Lucky! Isn't he the cutest thing! Beth is a big Disney fan so when I wanted one of these I knew she was the perfect person to ask to buy it!

Everyone sitting down for lunch - it was a bit of a squash but nice to sit all together

Selfie mode with me in it too 

Christmas dinner - it was so delicious! I made the cheese sauce and the bread sauce

Friday, March 10, 2023

My Dad's 70th Birthday

On the 23rd of January my dad would have turned 70 years old. He died nearly fifteen years ago and it's impossible to imagine him at 70. I miss him a lot, I always will I think. My mum and I decided to go out and celebrate his birthday by going on a pub crawl round Wakefield to pubs he used to go to with my mum. Then we thought we would have curry in a place we went to once (in a really funny way) with Lee and my stepdad in the evening. It was a really nice afternoon with my mum and especially considering what happened a couple of days later, I'm glad we got to do it. 

Lee and I picked my mum up at around 1pm and he took us into town before going home to work. My mum and I went into Marmlade on the Square for lunch, where I had halloumi and smashed avocado on sourdough toast, it was nice. Then we started the pub crawl in the Strafford Arms, where my mum and I went about ten years ago, but I can't remember why. 

We carried on into the Black Rock, which was a proper old man pub and was playing some fantastic dad rock which my dad would have loved. (I did actually make a playlist of songs that reminded me of him when it was the tenth anniversary of his death; I periodically add to it when I think of a song). We were the only women in there but it didn't feel unsafe. We then walked to the Inns of Court, where I swear I have never been before even though I used to drink in a pub a couple of doors down, which was called Players back in the day. I was very underage and we had some brilliant nights in there haha. 

Finally we walked down to a pub that is now called the New Union, but which used to be called The Spaniard and was also a Slug and Lettuce at one point. Lee and my stepdad arrived at the restaurant while we were finishing our drinks, and we realised that it only took cash and also doesn't have an alcohol licence, so my mum went off to get cash and a bottle of wine, and I walked down the restaurant and we all met there. It's called Syhiba and it is a really nice Indian with really friendly staff. 

I had mushroom pakora and then paneer and mushroom balti, which was delicious. I shared some lassi with my stepdad, he had never had it before but Lee said he would probably like it. After we had eaten we went back to my mum's house for a bit. It was a really nice day and I think we commemorated my dad really well! I hope he had a good heavenly birthday. 

Halloumi and avocado on toast for lunch

Drinks in the first pub - I mixed my drinks but my mum just had different lagers with lime which she always used to drink back in the day

The second pub had this old fashioned mirror

And he we are in there - I don't know why my mum had her glasses off though!

The third pub had this lovely stained glass in between the booths

And here we are in there - we sent this picture to my godmother who also raised a glass to my dad that day

The toilets in there were pretty gross but did have this life affirming graffiti in them 

This is where Players used to be. You went downstairs into the bar where there were pool tables and a small stage too

As we went down to the New Union there was a spectacular sunset looking down Westgate

My gin in the New Union

Mushroom pakora - they were quite spicy!

And my balti and some rice!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Birthday Trip Day 4

On the Sunday of my birthday trip to Helmsley we had to leave the cottage, but not until 11am, which gave us a good long time to get everything packed up and loaded into the cars. Then I had booked brunch at La Trattoria for all five of us. When Lee and I went to Helmsley with my mum and stepdad we ended up in La Trattoria for breakfast just before we left, so I already knew it was nice and obviously invited Sarah and Tom and Robyn along. Lee and I took photos of each other but I promise Sarah and co were there too!

You can build your own breakfast in the Italian, so I had scrambled eggs, mushroom, avocado, hash browns, and French toast. Plus a lovely hot chocolate! It was a nice breakfast. We all set off home around noon, saying goodbye. It was really lovely to spend so much time with Sarah and Tom and of course Robyn. 

I was wearing my red Joe Browns dress with navy flowers on it, and my navy Sprinkle of Glitter cardigan, and navy Snag tights. It's a nice winter outfit I think! 

Delicious hot chocolate 


And me looking slightly odd because of the light behind me in the window

Breakfast! It was yummy

And finally my outfit once we got home

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Birthday Trip Day 3

On the Saturday of our weekend in Helmsley, Sarah and Tom were up early with Robyn but Lee and I managed to sleep in for a bit. We relaxed in the morning - I was cross stitching - and Robyn played. Then she went for a nap about midday so Lee and I headed out to look at some of the shops in Helmsley we had missed the previous day. We got a few things in those shops. We then went to Cornercopia cafe to wait for Sarah and Tom and Robyn, who came after Robyn's nap. I haven't been in that cafe before but it was really nice, I would go again. I had falafel and cucumber and tzatziki on sourdough, and it was lovely. 

As we had headed out it was really foggy, but the sun started to break through. We had decided to go to the castle as Tom likes castles and Robyn likes running about. I've never been, but it's English Heritage so it costs a little bit to go in but I felt it was worth it. I probably wouldn't go again as it's not going to change much, but I did enjoy it. 

The people on the desk on the way in told us to go up the left hand path to get in as it's a shallower path which is obviously better for me and for a pushchair, so I was glad she had said that. The sun was breaking through and leaving some lovely effects on the ruins, so we all took photos and Robyn ran all over the place. It wasn't far to go so that was good. The path down the right hand side was much steeper and a bit icy in parts, but I managed it with Lee. 

Lee and I walked back into the market square and had a hot drink in Cafe Crema which was lovely. We all met back at the cottage. Lee went for a lie down again around 5pm and the rest of us cooked tea which was fajitas - chicken for the non vegetarians and halloumi for me. Robyn had some too! She had a bath and bed again and she fell asleep quite quickly so the rest of us managed to play a game and watch rubbish music channels on Sky. It was a lovely day! 

As Lee and I went into the square at about midday, there was proper fog going on! 

Hot chocolate in Cornercopia

Me and Sarah

My lunch, which was really nice

The sun just starting to poke through as we walked towards the castle

A plan of what the castle would have looked like before its destruction

I love the light in this one

As this one, as we walked up towards the entrance

This is one of the entrances

The bronze sculptures are pretty cool

One of the old entrances

Lots of ruins

Inside the keep

Me standing in a doorway like I like to

Our shadows

Sarah and Tom and Robyn

Looking down into the moat

Looking at Helmsley from the castle

The beck as Lee and I walked over it - it was far fuller than it usually is

And looking the other way - I always take these pictures in Helmsley

And finally my outfit - my Judi Love top and a Scarlett & Jo skirt, pretty typical outfit for me!