Sunday, February 26, 2023

My Birthday 2023

On the 19th of January I was 39, meaning I have now outlived all the Bronte siblings! Wow. I always like to do something on my birthday so I booked to go to Helmsley which is one of my favourite places ever. I invited my mum and stepdad along on my birthday itself, and then my friend Sarah and her husband Tom and baby Robyn for the weekend itself. My mum and stepdad have both been a bit unwell, so they arranged to meet us in Helmsley at 2pm, which was an early check in to the cottage that the owner kindly agreed to. Lee and I decided to call in Thirsk first which is also a really lovely place just on the way to Helmsley. 

We got there about midday and went into a couple of charity shops. I managed to pick up a nearly new pair of white t-bar shoes from Clarks and some Yankee Candles in the Cancer Research shop which I was thrilled about! We went into the White Rose bookshop and cafe which I also love, and had some lunch there. I had a cheese scone and a piece of chocolate cake. I didn't buy any books even though I was tempted to! We left there around 1.30pm and went to Helmsley, travelling up Sutton Bank as we did so. We were staying in Clothes Prop Cottage which is just off the main square. It had a parking space at the back and we had to unload down an alleyway, but it was fine! We got everything in and then my mum and stepdad arrived not too long afterwards. The cottage wasn't huge but well appointed and nice enough. 

I opened my birthday presents - I got some lovely stuff including a spa voucher from my mum, some jet jewellery from Lee's mam, and a bunch of nice little bits from Lee. Around 6pm we left the cottage and went to The Pickwick Bar which was really old and cosy inside. We had a drink in there before heading over to The Royal Oak for tea. It wasn't very busy in there which did mean that the atmosphere was a bit flat, but the food was nice. I had garlic mushrooms and vegetable lasagne with chips, which were both lovely. We didn't have any pudding because I had bought cupcakes from someone in my village to take with us. They were delicious! 

The selfie was me showing off my new lipstick - my mum bought me one from Lancome, it's lovely! I had asked for a nudeish lipstick and this fitted the bill perfectly. The last two photos were of Helmsley at night, aren't they lovely? It is such a lovely place 

Cheese scone with cheese and chutney 

And a lovely piece of homemade chocolate cake

We were staying just down this little alleyway between two shops

Whitby jet jewellery

Make up face ready to go out 

Gin and lemonade in the pub

Garlic mushrooms which had a ton of sauce which is how I like them

Veggie lasagne

The memorial in the market square as we walked home, this is looking up towards the top of the square where The Black Swan is

And this was some cute little ornaments in a shop window

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Secret Santa 2022

I just did one Secret Santa in 2022. In the past I've done more, but I wanted to cut it down to just one. I always really like The Broke and The Bookish's swap, so I signed up to send two books and some goodies to someone, and receive the same back. I got Jo as the person I was sending to, and I bought two books off her wishlist and then was careful to choose other things that I thought she would like. I bought a gonk decoration when we went to Chatsworth Christmas market, and I bought the plain chocolate that she liked, Aero and Galaxy. I sent the parcel about ten days before Christmas. Jo was really active on the #TBTBSanta hashtag, and I have followed her on Twitter for years, so I was looking forward to her opening and appreciating the presents.

Sadly, on the 19th of December her brother told us on her twitter account that she had died of pneumonia. Certainly, she had been ill with a bad cold - but surely it had been just a bad cold?? Until it wasn't, I suppose. I can't tell you how much Jo will be missed in book twitter. She worked at Foyles in Charing Cross and talked all the time about fab LGBTQIA books that were coming out. I can't tell you how many books I ordered just because Jo talked about them! I am truly saddened by her death and I was really sad that she wouldn't get to open and appreciate her presents. 

However, I received a really lovely parcel from Sharon! Sharon actually sent my gifts for the same swap a few years ago, and as then she did brilliantly! These were well thought out and personalised presents and for that I'm really grateful. I got three books off my wishlist, two of which I had totally forgotten about and one of which is the prettiest book of cross stitches. I got chocolate and a hot chocolate packet, and pens, and a brilliant wax melt kit! I am always burning wax melts so it'll be nice to make my own! I was thoroughly spoilt, thank you so much Sharon! 

The second photo is of the books I got for Christmas including the two novels I got from Sharon. The others were all from my in laws - Lee's brother bought me the Janice Hallett book and Lee's sister bought me the two M A Bennett books. I can't wait to get to them! 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Clothes Swap in Leeds!

On the 14th of January I organised a clothes swap in Leeds. You know we've done these before - I've done some in Leeds and Sheffield, but in 2019 other people were doing them in Leeds, so I hadn't, and then of course the pandemic happened, so I asked around and there was definite interest in having one in early 2023 so I took charge. I booked the main room at the Cardigan Centre which is where the last one I went to was in 2019. I hoped people would want to come, and I wasn't disappointed!

I arrived with Lee and Lolly was already there with Gabby and Chloe, so we put out a load of tables and put out some notices. We had hand gel and masks if people wanted them, and we had tea and coffee and cakes. Chloe had brought her badge maker and people genuinely liked making badges I think. Loads of people turned up at 12 or very soon afterwards, far more people than I had expected. I sat on the welcome table for a while but left Lee to it too. 

Around 2pm it seemed like it was winding down and I wondered if we'd made the wrong decision by saying we would stay open til 3pm. But then a ton more people turned up! There was a second wave! It was great. We packed up at 3pm - well, I didn't, because I had been in hospital earlier in the week and was still in a bit of pain so needed to just sit down. I'm very grateful to Lolly and Gabby who did most of the tidying up, and Lee of course because he was very helpful.

We left around 3.30 and Lee, Lolly and I went to Bundobust for something to eat. As I'd been ill, I wanted something I would really enjoy so although it was a bit of a faff it was so worth it. We managed to get a table. I ordered chaat, which I LOVE, paneer tikka, and aloo gobi paratha, which was absolutely lovely. I also had a mango lassi. Lolly and Lee both really enjoyed what they had ordered too - Lolly had never been before but really enjoyed it. It is all vegetarian food and a lot of it is vegan, which is very exciting to me as a vegetarian. I'm so glad we bothered to go. 

Afterwards Lolly went off for her train and Lee and I popped into Hotel Chocolat. Our friends Leanne and Adi bought us a huge box from there for Christmas, and I was impressed with them as I had thought they'd gone a bit downhill when I'd last had stuff for them. So I wanted to look again and I'm glad I did - there were some sale bargains that we got, and I bought myself some of the selector packets and I bought Lee some orange batons too. 

I was wearing my 'We are the weirdos, mister' t-shirt which I bought in Afflecks Palace back in October last year, and my Scarlett and Jo skirt which started off life as a dress. I like it because it has pockets! Perfect for a swap where I was walking around a lot. 

Lolly and me - we were trying to smile with our eyes

Chloe and me 

Swap in full swing! I saw some people I haven't seen in forever, which was so lovely

Chloe's badge making stuff

Mango lassi in Bundobust

And my truly delicious food. I didn't eat it all so brought it home

And finally my outfit!

Friday, February 17, 2023

Bev's 60th in Durham

The 7th of January was Lee's mam Bev's 60th birthday! She wanted a meal at a pub near where they live, so they had booked it and we had all ordered our food beforehand. My mum and stepdad were invited but my stepdad wasn't too well so my mum came with us. We set off around 11am and first of all went to Lee's dad's house for a bit. He and Lee's stepmam were about to go to Tenerife for a week, they're retired now so we can't blame them! 

We went to Lee's mam's house for about 2.30pm. Bev had already got some lovely presents so she was showing them to us. We had all clubbed together to buy her a Pandora bracelet she wanted and her cake and balloons but she got those later. Not long after us our friends Paul and Lianne arrived - they usually come to family get togethers before Christmas but didn't last year, so Bev invited them to her birthday instead. Lee's brother Andrew arrived not too long after them and all of us chatted for a bit. Oh, I also metg Lee's cousin's littlest girl who gave me a big cuddle, she's absolutely adorable.

We set off to the pub about 6.30pm. Lee says I've been there before but I don't remember it. We sat with Paul, Lianne, my mum, Lee's brothers Andrew and Daniel and Andrew's fiancee Libby who I really like. There were about forty people though altogether. 

I had roasted vegetables and feta on flatbread to start with, and then a halloumi burger. The portions were huge - I ate some of my mum's potato skins to start with cos there was loads! I had ordered a dessert but couldn't eat it as I was so full! It was a really lovely party and I hope Bev enjoyed it. We got home safely in the early hours! 

Bev's lovely cake

Lianne and I, lipstick game was strong at this point

Me and Lee

Paul and my mum - yes my mum has that same dress that I do

My mum and Libby

Bev and all five of her kids, I insisted we took this photo!

Flatbread and feta and vegetables to start with

Then a halloumi burger. I ended up just eating the halloumi burger and not all of the bread

Our niece Leah brought the cake in

Lee and his uncle Michael

Bev and her cake - Lee's sister took this photo

And she took this one of our table - dunno where Lee's gone off to though!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Films of the Month - December

I only watched eight films in December, but that's partly because I was so busy. Here's what I did see, though:

This was a daft Christmas film that I'd seen a couple of people talking about. It was cute enough, I'd say watch it if you like cute Christmas films

This was also a daft Christmas film, I didn't love it but it had its cute moments

Lee and I had watched Home Alone in November so watched Home Alone 2 in December. I think I've only seen it a couple of times

Netflix recommended The Breakfast Club to me so I watched it. I have seen it before but not for a really long time

Lee and I watched Christmas with the Kranks together which I really like, it's a funny film

Coyote Ugly is one of my favourite films, that's not even a joke. I first saw it at uni with my flatmates, and loved it. It's in my folder of 'comfort films' on my computer. I watched it just a few days before Christmas

Lee and I watched Ghostbusters 2 while on holiday in Somerset. I didn't remember most of it

Finally, Lee and Nirosha and I saw The Muppet Christmas Carol at the cinema at Meadowhall just before New Year!

Friday, February 10, 2023

New Year's Eve 2022

Lee and I did have plans to see our friends Bettie and Jen on New Year's Eve but unfortunately Jen got Covid so they couldn't come. We were at a bit of a loss but then my mum invited us to go with her and my stepdad for Chinese food near their house and then back to theirs. We decided to do that, it was nice.

Vegetarian Chinese food is never very exciting to me (needs more spice like Thai or Vietnamese) but I had curry samosas to start with and then satay vegetables, they were both okay. Everyone else enjoyed their meals though which was the main thing. The restaurant was quite full which was nice, there was a bit of atmosphere. 

We got back to my mum's and played Trivial Pursuit for a bit before we watched the New Year's stuff on the TV. I can't believe we're here in 2023! 

I wore this blue velvet skater dress from Simply Be, I don't wear it very often because it's such a celebration dress to me. It was lovely for New Year's Eve though. I took this photo of Lee and I in the restaurant while we were waiting for my mum. 

Blue skater dress and my constellation tights I think

Lee and I in the Chinese restaurant, I was wearing a new necklace that my stepcousin bought me, it's made of seaglass and came from Plymouth!

Curried samosa triangles

And satay vegetables finally!

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

27th and 28th December 2022

We had booked the cottage in Somerset until the 28th, so my mum and stepdad were definitely staying that long, but Lee and I had planned to come home on the 27th. However, we were having such a nice time that we decided to stay one more day. We knew that the cattery would be able to keep the cats another day, so we thought we would extend our stay. It ended up working out really well! On the Tuesday morning we went to Watchet with my mum and stepdad. It's a really cute seaside village really near to Minehead, I went before when I went with my mum and stepdad to Somerset. 

We walked round the front for a bit and went in the gift shop. Norman bought both me and my mum a stuffed hippo - my mum had been singing "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas" for weeks since I had shared it on Facebook, and she had tried to find a small hippo to buy me, but couldn't. But the gift shop had stuffed ones so we each got one! It's a nice souvenir of the holiday! Ours lives on the couch now. Lee took most of the first photos of Watchet because I had my gloves on and didn't want to remove them to take photos!

We tried two different places to get lunch before going to the Star Inn which had decent vegetarian choices. I had more mulled wine (it was a very mulled wine filled Christmas!) and vegetarian lasagne with chips. So good! 

After lunch we said goodbye to each other as my mum and stepdad were going to his mum's again and we didn't want to. Instead Lee and I went back to Minehead and played in the amusement arcades again. Then we got fresh donuts and ice cream from the only place open on the front! They were so good! We chose different sauces and sprinkles, I went for raspberry sauce and rainbow sprinkles. It was so delicious! 

Then Lee and I went back to the cottage and put our pyjamas on to relax for the rest of the afternoon. We both needed it and it was really lovely. We watched a film and I fell asleep! My mum and stepdad got back about 7pm and we had tea together before packing things up ready to come home. On the Wednesday, that's all we did, we set off around 9.20am and finally got home around 4pm due to a stupid diversion around Lichfield. It was such a nice trip away though!

I was still working my way through the Snag mystery bags of tights that I'd bought, so I wore this pair which are SO lovely. They're grey with pink and pale yellow hearts on them and I love them! I wore them with my new-to-me Dr Martens, obviously. 

Watchet harbour

This cute Christmas display was in a shop window

This is where the river meets the sea in Watchet. My mum and stepdad have stayed in that cottage on the left

More of the harbour

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

I took this one of the coastguard

Veggie lasagne and chips, I swear there was pasta under there somewhere

2p winnings

This is looking across the bay in Minehead towards where we were staying

Our cottages are right in the middle of this photo

Lee with his donuts and ice cream

And mine! I could eat it again right now!

Tights and boots!

And a better photo of the colour that I had taken earlier in the day

View out of the front window 

My hippo

And my mum with hers!